The annual PM Forum marketing salary benchmark shows directors eliminating the gender pay gap as their salaries surge.

Marketing directors and managers have seen their salaries increase by 16% and 9% respectively, in the process converting a 27% director gender pay gap into a 3% director gender pay premium. Other statistics from the Forum’s annual salary benchmark are not materially different to prior years.

Salaries and paid time
95% 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 peer discussions. Line managers and HR teams are viewed as no more reliable than the office grapevine.

What do Forum members think about their remuneration? 41% believe themselves to be paid less than their peers with only 10% feeling that they are paid more. Below are the key stats to make that comparison, with many more in the free ready reckoner.

Benefits and bonuses
Although all receive benefits (the most common being pension contributions and a cycle scheme) and 70% receive a bonus, commission or profit share, the latter is worth less than 10% of base salary for 84%. 30% of those receiving a bonus consider their firm’s bonus system to be ineffective at encouraging the type of behaviour sought by management, 35% consider it to be effective, and 35% consider it to be neither effective nor ineffective.

Performance reviews
69% of firms use self-assessment forms to collect data for performance reviews, with ‘Previously-set objectives’ being the primary input (87%). ‘Job-based capabilities’ is the secondary input at 80%; followed by ‘Multi-source feedback’ at 77%. Financial performance is just 4%.

Only 71% of line managers are seen as effective at agreeing objectives, with 26% poor at providing clarity over remuneration outcomes; 20% poor at discussing career development; and 19% poor at identifying learning and development needs. Members would prefer more frequent reviews – six-monthly formal reviews (37% v 32%); monthly informal reviews (47% v 37%).

The most important aspects of the review process are seen as: drafting goals in consultation with line managers; the process being designed to help identify and use strengths; and frequently receiving praise, positive feedback and public recognition for contribution.

Comments from members
Firms that grasp these issues will benefit from motivated, engaged, and perhaps more importantly, loyal marketers.
“The ‘Great Resignation’ has driven salaries to unprecedented levels for those with 5 to 10 years’ experience. There’s never been a better time to work in professional services.”
“It still feels as though the only way to receive a reasonable pay increase is to leave the firm.”
“Professional services firms offer very competitive salaries, but the exchange comes with a significantly high workload. If this can genuinely be sustained, then a long and healthy career is possible. However, the pressure often gets to people.”
“The salaries for mid/senior roles seem to be benchmarked by how many people are being managed, not by how much work or responsibility is taken on.”

Performance reviews:
“I don’t feel that performance reviews make a direct difference to salaries.”
“Conflicting objectives across the firm mean the priorities set by a manager are inconsistent with the reality of actual workload and deliverables.”
“Using the same form and process as for the reception staff is not going to get the best from marketing professionals.”
“Juniors aren’t privy to conversations about upcoming projects so asking them to say what they’d like to get involved in is somewhat absurd given they don’t have the experience to know where they are lacking experience!”
“Implementing a mentoring or coaching structure often gets missed within the practice management elements at professional firms. Establishing ways to coach between performance reviews is imperative, whether within a firm or across the sector. Mentors are also difficult to find.”

The 2022 benchmark was completed in January by 231 PM Forum members based in the UK. A free ready reckoner showing average salaries by grade, headcount and sector is available to download.