SALARY SURVEY 2000: So how does your salary compare with that of your peers? Jonah Bloom takes an industry-wide view with the help of Carreras Lathane, Phee Farrer Jones, Price Jamieson and The Davis Company

Your physics teacher might have denied it - he was probably feeling rather underpaid, after all - but money quite clearly makes the world go around.

Your physics teacher might have denied it - he was probably feeling

rather underpaid, after all - but money quite clearly makes the world go


Not only does it determine all those little things like where you live,

the size of your house and the badge on your car, but it also provides a

fantastic measure of how you are faring in your career.

Enlightened managing directors and personnel departments will insist

that people now value lots of other factors, such as a company’s

investment in their personal development - and there is some truth in

that - but nothing attracts and retains staff like a generous


As Ken Lathane, partner at Carreras Lathane, puts it: ’Media sales is

all about money and regardless of what anyone tells you, money is still

the motivating factor in the vast majority of job moves.’ Hence this

salary survey.

Salary inflation

This is the first survey of its kind, so there is no way of analysing

how much salaries have risen. But a poll of recruitment consultants

suggests most salaries climbed faster than the rate of inflation last


At graduate level there was evidence that salaries have increased. Where

a starting salary for the press sector was typically around pounds

13,000 or pounds 14,000 early in 1998, a new recruit can now expect to

receive pounds 16,000 or pounds 17,000.

Several of the biggest magazine houses, such as Emap, The Builder Group,

Haymarket and the FT, appear to be offering entry-level graduates more

money than they were a year ago, a pattern that is likely to stretch

across the board. It is not unheard of now for graduates to be offered a

’golden hello’ designed to help attract debt-laden students.

Salaries for roles that require between six months’ and four years’

experience - sales executives, senior sales executives and ad managers -

have also risen.

The Davis Company, which conducts an annual salary survey for its

clients, found last year that the average earnings for a sales executive

in business magazines was pounds 16,837 before commission. Our survey

calculated their average earnings in the last 12 months to be pounds

18,303, a rise of 8.7 per cent.

A senior sales executive salary in consumer magazines went up from

pounds 24,333 to pounds 25,839 - a rise of 6.1 per cent.

Lathane’s estimates are similar. ’At the bottom end there has been some

upward movement and salaries for more experienced staff have risen


Neil Barnes, consultant at Phee Farrer Jones, and Ann Jamieson, partner

at Price Jamieson, also believe salaries are up. But there’s more to it

than that. Barnes says: ’Companies have also started looking at ways of

improving the overall package. Bonuses, stock options and offers of

shares at preferred rates are all boosting existing salaries.’

Salary drivers

On the macro-economic level, the rise can be attributed to the success

of UK plc over the past year. Jamieson says: ’Think back over years of

the recruitment market. Salaries have always risen when the economy is

buoyant. A healthy economy creates jobs and a shortage of skills. It’s

simple supply and demand.’

Media has grown faster than other industries over the past 12 months,

making staff shortages acute. The business magazine sector - still the

biggest employer of sales people - has expanded considerably this year,

as have consumer magazines. As Barnes puts it: ’There have been more

launches than closures.’

The high demand, short supply situation has been exacerbated not only by

general demographics - a UK population dip between 1972 and 1976 - but

by the failure of a number of the large media owners to recruit enough

graduates in 1998 and 1999. Barnes says: ’The most common brief we

receive is a request to find someone with between a year and 18 months’

experience, and these are the hardest people to find.’

A lot of staff have left for other industries. As Hollis puts it: ’Sales

skills are enormously transferable. If, for example, City companies are

looking for staff to sell share products or insurance, a media sales

person might be ideal for the role. It’s a conceptual sell - you use

your brain in much the same way and you offer options and close the

sale.’ Lathane agrees: ’The City needs many of the same skills as the

media sales sector -and it pays more.’

Barnes says it is not just City companies that are hiring media sales

staff, but also IT firms and recruitment consultancies. ’People with an

IT publishing background have the right market and product knowledge for

the IT industry. They look and sound the part. They can earn as much as

25 per cent more if they move. If people were simply moving between

sectors then there would be a merry-go-round of vacancies, but some

people are moving out of the industry and that’s driving up shortages

and salaries.’

New media versus old media

But perhaps the single most significant factor to affect media salaries

over the past year has been the dotcom explosion, which has enticed some

of the best sales brains out of traditional media.

’There’s a new animal in the media jungle,’ says Barnes, ’and when it

comes to salaries it is very aggressive.’ He estimates new-media

companies offer salaries that are 20 per cent higher, on average, than

those offered in traditional media. Hollis agrees: ’There is no doubt

that new media has driven sales salaries upwards.’ But Jamieson, an

expert in placing people with dotcoms, thinks new-media salaries have

been hyped.

Although it is hard to make direct comparison - the sales hierarchy is

very different in new media - the results of the Media Business survey

bear out the theory that the online sector pays significantly more than

traditional media.

A sales executive’s average take-home pay in new media is pounds 33,449,

an incredible 40 per cent higher than the average of pounds 23,808

earned by a sales executive in business magazines. The difference

between new media and consumer magazines is smaller, with online

companies paying just 12 per cent more on average to their sales

executives. A sales executive in TV is likely to earn much the same as

one in new media.

As an account or sponsorship manager in new media, a sales pro can

expect to earn almost pounds 20,000 more, including commission, than an

ad manager in business magazines. He or she would also be pounds 10,000

ahead of an ad manager in consumer magazines, although they would

typically earn around pounds 10,000 less than an ad manager in national


So the evidence suggests the new-media bonanza really has benefited

media sales people. That said, both Hollis and Jamieson expect a little

deflation in the new-media bubble. ’It won’t necessarily burst but it

will deflate.

People are going to be more circumspect about moving over and that

should result in salaries levelling off a bit,’ says Hollis.

Jamieson goes further: ’There haven’t been many people with the

necessary new-media skills. That is bound to push salaries up, but the

pot of gold is mythical. We’ve all heard of someone who has made

millions, but there are plenty who have not done so well. People who got

in early did well because they moved up the ladder very quickly.

However, now the rush has died down I would think sales executives’

salaries would be quite comparable with those in other media.’

Such parity doesn’t seem to exist yet, but new-media companies are

undoubtedly reigning in their budgets. Several admit to having got their

fingers burnt by paying over the odds for rather average sales staff

(see p11) so the difference between traditional and new-media salaries

looks likely to reduce.

Sector versus sector

Interestingly, outdoor appears to offer the best rewards to its sales

executives, the average take-home being slightly higher than national

press and TV, the second and third best payers at this level. One

recruitment consultant suggests this is because outdoor is not as

’obviously sexy’ as some of the other sectors, and therefore needs to

work harder to attract people. But the figure is also affected by the

sizeable average commission (an impressive pounds 10,185) earned in this

sector. The high commission might reflect the success the sector has

enjoyed over the past 18 months.

At senior sales level, the best paid executives appear to be in the

national press, where the average basic was pounds 31,504 and the

average commission almost pounds 14,000. Outdoor was not far behind and

was closely followed by radio and TV (although our samples of senior

sales executives in the last two sectors are too small to offer more

than a pointer). In addition, senior roles on newspapers appear to pay

better than senior roles in almost all the other sectors, although we

did not have sufficient details of senior posts in TV to make a truly

valid comparison with the nationals.

The regional press still pays less than any other sector although, as

Barnes points out: ’Things might look different if you take account of

the lower cost of living outside London.’

And business magazines still lag a long way behind their consumer


A business magazine sales executive earns an average of pounds 23,808,

(including commission), almost 24 per cent behind a consumer magazine


The gap is almost identical at ad manager level, with the business

magazine ad manager earning an average of pounds 34,851 (including

commission) compared with pounds 43,255 in consumer magazines.

Owner versus agency

The shortage of staff has affected the agencies every bit as much as the

owners, according to Louise Foers, a consultant at The Davis Company,

who specialises in recruiting for media agencies. ’Not only is there a

shrinking number of available graduates,’ she says, ’but the agencies

did not recruit enough graduates between two and four years ago. This

means there is a shortage of people with that amount of experience.’

She has also witnessed media owners competing aggressively for agency

staff, and says the exodus from agency to owner has stepped up

considerably in recent months. Senior agency people receive plenty of

benefits and handsome salaries that often put them well ahead of their

peers who have stayed in sales. However, agency staff at the lower

levels increasingly find they can earn more with a media owner, once

commission enters the equation. ’The agency payment structure is

strictly no-frills for lower-level people,’ says Foers. ’There are few

commission payments, bonuses or perks and the hours are can be

considerable. Sales people get bonuses, car allowances and frequently

work shorter hours.’ Agencies, she says, are now working harder at

recruiting graduates and at making their lower-level packages more


But that does not mean media owners can sit back on their laurels. Just

like agencies, owners need to focus on recruitment and retention if they

are to compete with other sectors in the burgeoning service economy.

This might well mean wage packets are set for continued growth in the

next 12 months. Good news for sales professionals.


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Publisher                  51,814        13,688       65,202         53

Ad director                43,678        14,838       58,616         55

Ad manager                 27,352         7,499       34,851        116

Deputy ad manager          23,421         5,575       28,996         42

Senior sales exec          21,997         5,558       27,555         99

Sales executive            18,303         5,504       23,808        130

Classified/telesales       14,181         4,622       18,804         85


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Ad director                87,000        15,473      102,473          3

Group head                 47,840        12,831       60,671         12

Sales manager              31,125        16,529        47654          7

Ad manager                 47,842        16,240       63,740         17

Senior sales exec          31,504        13,737       45,241         54

Sales exec                 26,146         9,461       35,606         86

Classified/telesales       15,252         5,783       21,035         47


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Group head                 48,000        15,000       63,000          2

Senior sales exec          29,519        14,781       44,300          8

Sales exec                 25,894        10,185       36,079         28


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Group head                 26,550        11,050       37,600          2

Sales manager              31,654         9,460       41,114          6

Senior sales exec          25,437        11,875       37,312          9

Sales exec                 23,088         7,969       31,057         17


Title                     Approx experience                 Salary band

Group head                12-18 months                        30-43,000

Senior planner            18 months-30 months                 21-33,000

Planner/buyer             30 months-4 years                   18-28,000

Junior planner/buyer      4 years-6 years                     16-25,000


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Publisher                  54,487        12,899       67,386         27

Ad director                57,827        14,963       72,790         33

Ad manager                 34,188         9,067       43,255         67

Deputy ad manager          31,013         9,173       40,186         29

Senior sales exec          25,839         7,654       33,493         59

Sales executive            22,825         6,894       29,719        121

Classified/telesales       15,890         5,532       21,423         86


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Sales manager              34,375        11,821       46,797.00       8

Ad manager                 25,650         5,372       31,022         12

Senior sales exec          17,963         3,127       21,090         16

Sales exec                 17,613         4,444       22,057         32

Telesales/classified       13,301         2,871       16,172         21


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Group head                 46,500        14,222       60,722          2

Sales manager              31,488        10,762       42,250          4

Senior sales exec          28,640        12,481       41,120          9

Sales executive            21,457         7,888       29,345         21


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Show director               43540         8,200       51,740          2

Ad director                39,753         8,893       48,646          9

Show manager               30,480         7,050       37,530         16

Sales manager              27,847         6,184       34,031         48

Senior sales exec          24,244         5,805       30,049         41

Sales exec                 20,102         6,018       26,120         82

Telesales                  14,600         3,400       18,000         29


Title                     Average        Actual        Total     Sample

                           salary    commission       pounds

                           pounds        pounds

Ad director                 48667        20,208        68875          3

E-commerce mgr/dir          54384         18904        73289         15

Acc mgr/dir                 43306        10,930        54236         30

Client sales exec           24250          8800        33050          5

Sponsorship mgr             37862         13290        51152         10

Sponsorship exec            25379          9365        34744         21

Sales exec                  24942          8507        33449         43