Marketing salaries 2020

The annual PM Forum marketing salary benchmark sees a considerable reduction in the gender pay gap for marketing directors as the role grows to 80% female.

Headline data

Marketing salaries have increased by 1.1% for managers. The continued reduction in the average salaries of directors may result from managers being given a new job title without a significant salary increase. London-based marketers are paid 32% (2019: 34%) more than those in UK regions. The gender pay gap has significantly improved for marketing directors to 6% (2019: 19%), settled for junior marketers, but remains high for marketing managers despite the cohort being 79% female.

Salaries and paid time

96% (94%) have their base salary reviewed annually. Professional bodies continue to be seen as the most reliable source of salary data, followed by recruitment consultants and peers. Line managers and HR teams are deemed no more reliable than the office grapevine.

What do PM Forum members think about their remuneration? 39% believe themselves to be paid less than their peers with only 7% feeling that they are paid more. Opposite are the key stats to make that comparison, with many more in the free ready reckoner – see footnote.

95% are entitled to paid leave, 11% to paid overtime and 37% to paid volunteer time. These numbers show little change over 2019.

Benefits and bonuses

Although 99% receive benefits (the most common being pension contributions and external training courses) and 63% (66%) receive a bonus, commission or profit share, the latter is worth less than 10% of base salary for all but a handful. One third of those receiving a bonus consider their firm’s bonus system to be ineffective at encouraging the type of behaviour sought by management, one third consider it to be effective, and one third consider it to be neither effective not ineffective. These numbers also show little change over 2019.

Performance reviews

72% of firms use self-assessment forms to collect data for performance reviews, with ‘Previously-set objectives’ being the primary input (86%). ‘Job-based capabilities’ is the secondary input at 77% (70%); followed by ‘Multi-source feedback’ and ‘Personal behaviour’ at 68%. Financial performance is less than 10%.

Only 60% of line managers are seen as effective at agreeing objectives, with 31% seen as poor at providing clarity over remuneration outcomes; 27% poor at discussing career development; and 22% (26%) poor at identifying learning and development needs. Formal performance reviews are mostly annual; informal feedback is mostly monthly, but with 11% never receiving informal feedback and 3% never receiving formal feedback. Members would prefer more frequent periodic reviews – formal quarterly reviews (39% v 14%); informal monthly reviews (44% v 29%).

When asked to rank the most important aspects of the review process, the only change from 2019 is that ‘Controlling the timing and structure of appraisals’ has moved from 6th to 4th place:

  • Drafting my own goals in consultation with my line manager
  • The process being designed to help me identify and use my strengths
  • Frequently receiving praise, positive feedback and public recognition for my contribution
  • Controlling the timing and structure of my performance appraisals, the data collected and the feedback providers
  • Those who conduct periodic reviews being encouraged to assume the role of performance coaches
  • Leaders being encouraged to comment on whether I am wanted on their team for future projects
  • Being expected to initiate the process of check-ins to receive personal coaching from my manager on near-term work.

Issues raised by members

The key theme emerging is that those firms that grasp these issues will benefit from motivated, engaged, and perhaps more importantly, loyal marketers.

“The days of staying in the same role and being able to progress are over.”

“Salaries have remained quite static for years, making it difficult to manage expectations.”

“People expect to progress much quicker and then get stuck at a junior manager level for a while. This causes a skills shortage as people are becoming quite senior without having a rounded capability in generalist roles.”

“There are many different things that employers do not consider when it comes to junior staff and salaries, two of which constantly come up when talking to my peers. The first is workload. Employers simply look at the job title and benchmark the salary instead of considering how much work an individual actually does. Secondly, employers could improve retention if they were to acknowledge that junior staff are more aware of opportunities elsewhere. Pensions and other benefits play a huge role in how long people are willing to stay with a firm.”

“Roles seem to jump £20k with role title rather than be spread by experience or responsibility. There doesn’t seem to be a clear career development path.”

“Sometimes salary isn’t the be all and end all. Although I could get a higher salary working at a different firm, I benefit from a really good work/life balance and a lot of flexibility.”

“We were denied pay rises for several years due to the challenging economic situation. However, this did not seem to apply to the fee earners. The result is that we are now lagging behind the benchmark for similar firms.”

“The professional services sector certainly attracts higher marketing salaries than other industries. What is not taken account of is the volume of hours worked that are not remunerated. It is a reason that people find it hard to move to another industry.”

“Treat me as a professional who makes a positive contribution to the profitability, reputation and growth of the firm – not as a drain on profits.”

Performance reviews:
“Waste of time. You can get the best feedback possible and still only receive a statutory pay rise. Feedback should be directly related to bonuses (which don’t exist at my firm!)”

“We utilise the main tools but go off piste and use our own so that we know we can deliver on our roles. Clear objectives should underline all of this with a regular commitment to formal and informal training.”

“It is rare for performance reviews to be linked to the annual pay review which I find frustrating.”

“Reviews are often one sided focusing on behaviours and personalities rather than on work done or areas of growth for the individual.”

“There are no KPIs set for the marketing team, only a checks and balance system at appraisals. Targets may include ‘enter details into CRM’ where the CRM is not fit for purpose, making the target unachievable.”

“It is hard to work towards a goal, when it is based on CPD points, or accountancy skills.”

“Line managers of marketers in professional service firms are often lacking in people management skills or coaching expertise; under qualified for their role; and do not sufficiently understand the roles of those reporting to them to act as a mentor.”

“A lot depends on the personal agenda of the head of the department and on their ability/willingness to challenge the partnership.”

“Given the day-to-day pressures of delivery, objectives increasingly become too focused on the tactical, and less focused on the strategic - which is a dead-end ambition for any marketer.”

The benchmark was completed in January 2020 by 270 PM Forum members in the UK and Ireland. Download a free ready reckoner showing average salaries by grade, headcount, sector and location.