An evolving function
Consistently rated the most reliable source of such information, the annual PM Forum marketing salary benchmark sees a slight improvement in the gender pay gap but still a long way to go.
Marketing salaries have increased by nearly 5% for junior marketers, but less for more senior marketers. The 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 34% (2018: 34%) more than those in UK regions; and the gender pay gap has reduced for junior marketers but remains 18.6% (2018: 20.5%) for marketing directors despite 69% being female.
Salaries and paid time
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? 40% believe themselves to be paid less than their peers with only 6% feeling that they are paid more. The table opposite shows the key statistics to make that comparison, with many more in the free online ready reckoner – see footnote.
88% are entitled to either paid leave (94%), paid overtime (10%) or paid volunteer time (41%). The latter was only 28% in 2018, indicating increased recognition by firms of the value of volunteering to both the marketers involved and local communities.
Benefits and bonuses
Although 99% receive benefits (the most common being pension contributions and external training courses) and 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 are little changed over 2018.
73% (2018: 67%) of firms use self-assessment forms to collect data for performance reviews, with ‘Previously-set objectives’ being the primary input (87%). ‘Multi-source feedback’, ‘Personal behaviour’ and ‘Job-based capabilities’ are the secondary inputs at 70%. Financial performance is less than 10%.
Only 60% (2018: 65%) 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 26% poor at identifying learning and development needs. Formal performance reviews are mostly six-monthly or annual; informal feedback is mostly monthly, but with 10% never receiving informal feedback and 1% never receiving formal feedback. Members would prefer more frequent periodic reviews.
When asked to rank the most important aspects of the review process, the rankings are unchanged from prior years, with the top three still being:
1 Drafting my own goals in consultation with my line manager
2 The process being designed to help me identify and use my strengths
3 Frequently receiving praise, positive feedback and public recognition for my contribution
Comments from members
These are typical of the hundreds received. The key theme emerging is that those firms that grasp these issues will benefit from motivated, engaged, and perhaps more importantly, loyal marketers.
“Firms undervalue the marketing function and their role in winning work. They fail to recognise if they were paid more you would get more motivated people and higher output.”
“I feel that in a world of technology, the intuition a marketer can bring is recognised and appreciated more regularly than in other sectors.”
“If a firm has transparent salary scales and clear objectives, there should be no room for misunderstanding or uncertainty.”
“It’s getting to the point where I think I need to look elsewhere as the lack of decent salary increases means that I’m underpaid for what I’m doing.”
“As the function evolves, firms who are at the lower end of the pay bracket are struggling to attract top talent.”
“Some firms seem to think that status of organisation and calibre of client and work opportunities can be used as an excuse to not actually pay well.”
“Marketing jobs which require the same level of experience, responsibility and hard work may be classed as different titles at different firms which is quite misleading.”
“Sales/BD professionals are paid more highly than their marketing colleagues. Yet, the latter usually have more qualifications and their skills are difficult to develop and nurture. In the last few years it has become far simpler to measure the impact of what we do. Perhaps it’s a ‘brand’ perception problem that we marketers need to work on fixing together?”
“Salary chasing is all good and well but what happens when you reach the top of the ladder and find yourself stuck in a miserable, uninspiring role with no option to leave because you priced yourself out of the market. I’m looking for a fuller package that includes flexible options that fit with my life style.”
“It seems the only way to get support for pay rises is to highlight the impact the resignation of an individual would have on the business.”
“If you are keen to earn a lot of money there are professional service firms for you and, if you are more interested in a work/ life balance, there is also a place for you.”
“Performance reviews are carried out months after salary reviews – ‘cart before horse’. No wonder there are so many complaints!”
“Since returning from maternity leave it took over three months to receive any real focus or direction. At a time when I needed it the most, to get back up to speed and performance levels, it wasn’t there.”
“Performance reviews are yearly self-assessments that involve a 30-60 minute conversation with your manager who then forgets all about it for the rest of the year.”
“At my firm it’s become an industry in its own right. It takes three months, from start to finish. The time involved is simply ridiculous, especially as the financial rewards are pretty paltry.”
“Individuals need to take ownership of their careers by proactively seeking guidance.”
“Too often we end up with a system that constructs rather than discovers the truth about an individual.”
“A strong appraisal system takes account of perspectives from both marketing colleagues and fee earners.”
“It’s a popularity contest, with the quieter members of the team taking a hit on their ratings.”
“Often performance reviews are based against broad support staff style frameworks so don’t accurately assess marketing specific objectives and skills.”
“People are sitting tight, meaning that career progression conversations are somewhat redundant.”
“Performance reviews are very difficult for marketers, as the results of our work aren’t always visible within a short space of time.”
The benchmark was completed in January 2019 by over 300 PM Forum members in the UK and Ireland. Download a free ready reckoner showing average salaries by grade, headcount, sector and location.