Marketing Salaries 2021

The annual PM Forum marketing salary benchmark shows that the gender pay gap remains high despite 79% of senior marketing roles held by women.

Headline data
The gender pay gap for marketing managers and directors remains high despite the cohort being 79% female. The reduction in average salaries is most likely due to the mix of respondents varying between years, but anecdotal discussions indicate that few marketers are receiving increases. London-based marketers are on average paid 22% more (32% in 2020) than those in UK regions. Only 65% of line managers are seen as effective at agreeing objectives as part of periodic review, with 27% poor at discussing career development. 9% of respondents never receive informal feedback…

Salaries and paid time
90% 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 peer discussions. Line managers and HR teams are deemed less reliable than the office grapevine.

What do Forum members think about their remuneration? 47% believe themselves to be paid less than their peers with only 5% feeling that they are paid more. Below are the key stats to make that comparison, with many more in the free ready reckoner.

98% are entitled to paid leave, 8% to paid overtime and 42% to paid volunteer time. 








Benefits and bonuses
Although all receive benefits (the most common being pension contributions and a cycle scheme) and 64% 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 nor ineffective.

Performance reviews
67% of firms use self-assessment forms to collect data for performance reviews, with ‘Previously-set objectives’ being the primary input (84%). ‘Job-based capabilities’ is the secondary input at 79%; followed by ‘Multi-source feedback’ and ‘Personal behaviour’ at 71%. Financial performance is zero.

Only 65% of line managers are seen as effective at agreeing objectives, with 29% poor at providing clarity over remuneration outcomes; 27% poor at discussing career development and 26% poor at identifying learning and development needs. Members would prefer more frequent reviews – six-monthly formal reviews (37% v 29%); monthly informal reviews (40% v 32%). 9% never receive informal feedback…

The most important aspects of the review process are seen as: drafting goals in consultation with line managers; the process being designed to help identify and use strengths; and frequently receiving praise, positive feedback and public recognition for contribution

Comments from members
Firms that grasp these issues will benefit from motivated, engaged, and perhaps more importantly, loyal marketers.

“On the whole I think marketing salaries in professional services firms are, and have always been, more competitive than working in industry or in-house.”
“There seems to be a huge discrepancy across the market, with large jumps in renumeration between roles.”
“I think the junior members of teams should be paid more as usually they aren’t paid very well for what they do when they are a valuable member of the team.”

Performance reviews:
“In my experience, the big issue with performance reviews is the mindset and attitude of the person reviewing you. So it’s often not a level playing field which can lead to employees feeling demotivated and undervalued.”
“This is the first organisation I have worked in that doesn’t have annual appraisals and I love it.”
“As head of my team, I find them vital, an open two-way conversation – benefiting both parties.”

The benchmark was completed in January 2021 by 201 PM Forum members based in the UK. A free ready reckoner showing average salaries by grade, headcount, sector and location is available to download.