UK marketing salaries up to 40% lower than those in Australia

 PM Forum has conducted its definitive marketing salary survey annually for the past 15 years. The 2023 survey was organised jointly with ICON, a 3,000 strong association for sector marketers across Asia/Pacific, as part of a wider partnership.


  • UK salaries have increased more for directors and executives (13% to 15%) than for managers (8%). This is a similar pattern to 2022, resulting in managers falling further behind.
  • Australian salaries are nearly 40% higher than the UK for managers and executives; 12% higher for directors.
  • The gender pay gap has increased since 2022 for managers and directors in the UK – highest for directors in Australia.
  • Bonuses are more common in the UK but seldom worth more than 10% of salary. There was a 10 percentage point improvement over 2022 in the perceived effectiveness of bonus systems in the UK.
  • Offering home working is seen as the top priority for employee retention strategies, followed by paid leave in Asia/Pac or by pension scheme contributions in the UK.
  • The performance review skills of line managers in Asia/Pac are seen as 20 percentage points higher on every criteria than UK line managers.

Salaries and paid time

92% 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? 44% believe themselves to be paid less than their peers with only 7% feeling that they are paid more. Here are the key stats to make that comparison, with many more in the free ready reckoner – see below:

Average salary (UK) Increase on 2022 salaries Average salary (Australia) Increase on UK salaries  

Pay gap (UK)

Pay gap (Australia)
Directors/Heads £108,065 15.0% £120,973 11.9% 11.5% 25.6%
Managers/Senior managers £63,267 8.5% £87,703 38.6% 17.1% -22.4%
Executives/Co-ordinators £37,625 13.0% £52,349 39.1% -13.3% -6.8%

96% are entitled to paid leave, 7% to paid overtime and 46% to paid volunteer time.

Benefits and bonuses

Although 97% receive benefits (the most common being pension scheme contributions and flexible home working arrangements) and 68% receive a bonus, commission or profit share, the latter is worth less than 10% of base salary for 82%. 23% (2022 30%) of those receiving a bonus consider their firm’s system to be ineffective at encouraging the type of behaviour sought by management, with 45% (2022 35%) considering it to be effective.

 Performance reviews

70% of firms use self-assessment forms to collect data for performance reviews, with ‘Previously-set objectives’ being the primary input (84%). ‘Multi-source feedback’ is the secondary input at 80%; followed by ‘Personal behaviour’ at 73% and ‘Job-based capabilities’ at 68%. Financial performance is just 5%.

Only 67% of line managers are seen as effective at agreeing objectives, with 21% poor at providing clarity over remuneration outcomes; discussing career development and identifying learning and development needs. Members would prefer more frequent reviews – quarterly or six-monthly formal reviews (76% ideal v 58% now); monthly or weekly informal reviews (65% ideal v 46% now).

The most important aspects of the review process remain as in 2022: 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.


  • Firms make a lot of effort to present themselves as great places to work, but when it comes to retention and transparency in pay to keep talent, they could do a lot more to remain attractive.
  • “Why do salaries need to be confidential?”
  • “If marketers are driven by sales targets and rewarded accordingly, this is likely to change and be higher (based on performance relative to the success of the business).”
  • “I made the case for an increase for one of my team members and it’s taken two years for any further transparency with me around salary comparisons.”
  • “I have been with my current firm for over twenty years. If had I moved, my salary prospects would have been considerably enhanced. But that’s the price one pays for loyalty – new faces get the better deal.”

Performance reviews:

  • “I think if success stories were shared, there would be more appreciation of the value we provide.”
  • “Reviews are done using terminology and forms written for legal staff. The real competencies of marketing professionals are not considered, nor levels of experience, qualifications and input to the whole business.”
  • “It would be good to have a career development framework which would give a clearer idea of how to progress.”
  • “There seems to be a generation of managers stepping into the top ranks who haven’t yet learnt how to lead and aren’t being adequately prepared. “
  • “The inability of reviewers to consider value added in performance reviews is emblematic of a broken remuneration system. The uncomfortable reality is that the only way to get paid for increases in professional capacity and capability is to jump ship.”



The International marketing salaries survey 2023 was completed in June 2023 by 233 marketers – 164 from PM Forum and 69 from ICON APAC.

There were insufficient responses from members in other countries to create similar reckoners.