Junior marketing roles see salary surge as brands face up to talent crisis

However, salaries of more experienced roles are in decline, study finds.

Junior marketing roles see salary surge as brands face up to talent crisis

Entry-level and junior marketing roles are experiencing significant increases in salaries as employers have been forced to up wages in the face of Brexit and competition from the tech sector.

According to the 2019 salary guide, published by Aquent/Vitamin T, a specialist recruiter for creative, digital and marketing talent, entry-level positions are seeing considerable increases in salaries, with some disciplines increasing by more than 20% year on year. It represents a reversal of stagnant salaries in the past. 

Entry-level user experience designers saw the biggest jump, with salaries increasing 21% year on year to an average £37,500. Graphic designers' pay went up 11% to £25,000 and art-workers' rose 16% to £25,000. Over the past two years, entry-level design roles have experienced significant increases in pay, following a long period of real-term decline. 

Aliza Sweiry, UK managing director at Aquent/Vitamin T, warned that while marketing and creative careers are still an attractive destination for bright youngsters, the industry is competing against good salaries and fashionable nature of big tech companies. She added: "Beyond this, the short supply of qualified candidates, and with Brexit on the horizon, Britain is no longer the attractive destination to launch a marketing career. This has meant employers have had to raise salaries to attract talent."

The cost of experience

However, among more experienced candidates, the research revealed a less buoyant picture, with salary of senior roles in decline. The majority of senior marketers have seen a real-terms salary fall, with static salaries for new jobs. In 2018, experienced designers, developers and copywriters did not see an increase in pay.

The exceptions to this trend were senior traffic managers, who experienced a 28% salary increase to an average of £55,000; marketing director salaries inched up to an average of £95,000; senior digital project managers saw a 5% increase to £57,000; and technical project managers' pay rose 8% to £65,000.

Mobile app developers across all levels saw their salaries fall, suggesting the app era may have peaked. Senior professionals experienced a 19% decline. However, data-driven marketing roles continue to be in demand and mid-tier marketing data analysts saw an 18% rise year on year in their salaries to £50,000.

However, despite senior leaders showing no signs of slowing down their focus on "content" roles, in real terms over the past four years there was no growth in salaries for writing and content positions – a trend that Aquent/Vitamin T attributed to "the deep and hungry talent pool available with journalistic training and experience".

Copywriters with more than 10 years' experience command salaries of around £55,000 and senior copywriters £50,000. By discipline, the research reveals a growing demand for video editors at all levels, as well as user researchers and digital product designers. 

Competing for talent

At the same time, according to Aquent/Vitamin T’s survey, more than half (54%) of senior marketing leaders are finding it hard to recruit quality talent, with a third of leaders facing a skills gap internally. In light of this, 43% of marketers said they have to outsource creativity to agencies, even though it is a core part of their day-to-day role. 

The research also underlined the challenge of diversity, with three-quarters of senior marketers agreeing that the senior leadership team in their company is not diverse enough. One in four said the straight, white, male leadership only wants to recruit in their image.

However, progress is on the agenda, with a quarter of brand-side marketing leaders saying that while there are some diversity challenges within their organisations, leadership is actively removing barriers to progression by offering mentoring, flexible working and shared parental leave. 

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