Survey: Marketers' salaries essentially flat

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A downturn in the salary of midlevel marketers has caused a slight dip in the overall salaries and compensation for marketers this year compared with 2005, according to a new report.

The survey was conducted by market research firm 6Degress on behalf of the American Marketing Association, marketing staffing firm Aquent and BtoB. About 14,000 marketing and design professionals responded to the survey, which was distributed via e-mail to nearly 225,000 executives in January.

For the most part, salary and compensation levels among marketers are quite similar to last year, with the exception of the midtier.

There are a few factors contributing to this trend, including the ascent of higher-compensated, midlevel marketers into the top tiers of their organizations.

Meanwhile, midlevel positions have been filled with marketers moving up from the entry-level ranks, which has led to a decrease in salaries within the midtier, said Glenn Andersen, research director of 6Degress.

Andersen stressed that, in the next few years, "we anticipate seeing the middle level stabilizing or increasing in compensation levels as younger marketers gain further experience and knowledge."

He said the current decrease in midlevel salaries is mainly attributable to a slight drop in the aggregate in salary and overall compensation in the mid-Atlantic and North Central regions.

In the mid-Atlantic region, the median salary this year will drop to $75,000 from $76,000 in 2005, while in the North Central region the median will drop to $65,000 from $66,000.

In New England, the median salary this year will have a slight uptick to $76,000, from $75,000 in 2005, while in the Mountain region, the median salary will increase to $62,500 from $60,000.

Top-level marketing executives had a 5% uptick in salary but a 2.2% decrease in overall compensation. "What's happening is top-level execs are getting an increase in salary but are not necessarily getting bonuses and other compensation," Andersen said.

"It may also be attributable to more midlevel execs moving into the top tier but not receiving the same level of bonuses and compensation as more senior, upper level marketing executives experienced in 2005."

Entry-level salaries were flat while total compensation fell nearly 3%. "The new crop is getting the same salary [as their predecessors]," Andersen said, "but they haven't earned compensation and bonuses yet."

Aquent has been closely examining marketing executives and plans to release more intelligence about them later this year.

"What's different about this year is that we surveyed executives on a lot of different topics," said Jenny Norwood, marketing director for Aquent. She added that, within the next few months, Aquent will release studies for marketing executives that will focus on hiring practices, organizational structure, the proliferation of departments that meld marketing with IT and career development.

For the most part, salary and compensation levels among marketers this year will be essentially flat compared with 2005.

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