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Marketing Salary Survey Shows the Pandemic is Changing Hiring Trends

Annual marketing salary survey shows remote interviews and shorter hiring process have become the norm as a consequence of the pandemic

The was a cartoon going around the business world a few weeks ago that asked “who led the digital transformation in your company?”

  1. CEO
  2. CTO
  3. COVID-19

In the cartoon, the correct answer is COVID-19.

Indeed, the pandemic has shown businesses, that with a little bit of leadership, it can do things it wasn’t sure it could do. That’s clear in the findings from the annual marketing and creative salary survey conducted by The Creative Group and parent company Robert Half.

The survey polled, 2,400 senior managers (U.S.) and found, as a result of the pandemic, the top three changes businesses have made in hiring are:

  • 54% are conducting remote interview and onboarding
  • 42% have shortened the hiring process; and
  • 42% are advertising fully remote jobs.

How businesses hire marketers wasn’t the only thing that’s change – but the skills they are hiring for too. While there’s always been a demand for marketers with marketing technology skills, the Coronavirus seems to have redoubled the emphasis.

The study notes:

“Employers are interested in a candidate with experience using marketing automation and demand generation software, customer relationship management systems, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) tools, and other e-commerce platforms.”

The study, citing data from the MIT Technology Review, also suggests knowledge of artificial intelligence (AI) could be a competitive advantage for marketing job candidates. About one in three (33%) respondents say AI is being deployed in their sales or marketing department today – and that’s expected to jump to 59% by 2022.

The technical emphasis also extends to the creatives who work with (or in) marketers:

“Creative professionals with expertise in user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design and front-end web development will also be sought as companies further invest in these areas.”

The survey also covers retention. About 80% of managers are worried “about retaining valued employees.” Among the top concerns managers have for their marketing workforce are:

  • 47% are concerned employee morale has suffered
  • 47% are worried about employee burnout amid heavy workloads; and
  • 39% said salaries have been cut with no plans for raises.

One small thing that leaders can do to help hold on to employees is to recognize their work. The most underutilized tool in a manager’s toolkit is a compliment. Recognition for a job well done requires no budget.

(click image for higher resolution)

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Marketing and Creative Salaries

The biggest findings in the survey are the salary benchmarks. The report presents this data in quartiles (nearly).

This means a candidate in the 25% quartile has little experience, the candidate in the 50% quartile has average experience, a candidate in the 75% quartile has above average experience, and a candidate in the 95% quartile is among the best.

I’ve selected a few of the titles associated annual salary benchmarks that might be of interest to readers here. Importantly, I’m just presenting the range for the middle quartiles that best reflect, in my opinion, an average. Those are the 50th and 75th quartile, respectively. Here they are in alphabetical order:

  • Account executive (agency): $59,500-$73,500
  • Chief marketing officer (CMO): $165,000-$199,500
  • Content strategist: $74,500-$88,500
  • Copywriter: $73,000-$85,250
  • Creative director: $117,000-$140,250
  • Demand generation manager: $89,250-$107,750
  • Graphic designer: $57,000-$68,000
  • Marketing director: $109,000-$127,500
  • Marketing manager: $78,8750-$88,500
  • PR director: $98,000-$116,250
  • Social media manager: $60,250-$75,750
  • UX designer: $98,000-$118,500
  • UX director: $130,500-$153,750
  • Vice president of marketing: $146,000-$174,250
  • Vice president of PR: $118,750-$140,750 [more specific PR salary survey]
  • Web designer: $70,000-$86,500

The report also offers adjustments based on location. For example, if you live in Birmingham, Ala. the guide suggests reducing the salary quartile by 5%, but if you live in Atlanta, Ga., it recommends adding 6%.

The full report contains much more detail including all four quartiles and across a broader range of titles. You can also check salary adjustments for your location. You can register to download the full report here: 2021 Creative & Marketing Salary Guide.

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Image credit: Photo by visuals on Unsplash and respective study


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