Our new Careers and Salary Survey 2016 looks at the earnings of digital specialists versus general marketers.

4,300 people responded to the survey from across marketing, advertising, digital and design, including client-side and agency-side individuals and consultants.

Here are some of the bits that stood out to me, why some content specialists could be worried and women are still disadvantaged.

You can download the full results here.

Average salaries of digital specialists

The table below shows the average salaries of those respondents who classified themselves as digital specialists.

Though the individual sample sizes differ between each job role (see the breakdown here), it's striking to see that average salary has decreased for content marketers (-4%), content producers (-15%) and copywriters (-28%) between 2015 and 2016.

This may reflect an increase in digital expertise amongst general marketers, leading to less of a skills shortage in this area.

Indeed, 44% of general marketer respondents admitted they had completed a digital training course of some sort.

Average salaries from selected job roles

Average salaries of men and women

Both sexes have suffered a pay decrease from 2015 to 2016 and a gender pay gap persists.

Among digital specialists, men earn £8,202 more than women on average, a pay gap of 17.7%. Meanwhile in general marketing, men are being paid an average salary of £8,273 more than women, a difference of 18.1%.

Update 23 August 2016:

In the user comments added below this article, some people asked what this gender pay gap looks like when job seniority is taken into account.

Below are the average salaries for men and women, split out by job title. Though the survey did ask about years of experience, in this instance we are using job title as indicative of seniority.

The gender with the lower average salary for each job role is highlighted in orange.

It's perhaps interesting to note that the average salaries for marketing execs and marketing managers (by far the two largest sample sizes) are very similar for men and women.

gender pay divide

Digital specialists and general marketers earn the same salary in-house

Lastly, it's interesting to note that although freelance digital specialists and those in agencies earn more than their general marketer counterparts, this distinction is not seen in-house.

The average basic salary for in-house roles is £40,591 for digital specialists, with general marketers taking home £40,334. 

Download the Econsultancy Career and Salary Survey 2016 to see the full findings.

Ben Davis

Published 11 February, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (5)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, Founder and Author at Fresh Relevance

Biggest fall: Copywriter
Biggest gain: Social Media/Online PR Manager

We need the "B Ark" real soon!

over 2 years ago


Ben Lines, Digital Sales Manager at Fasthosts Internet Ltd

Why not have the results split out by role by gender? Rather than amalgamating all the positions into one, and then splitting by gender. Surely that would give a more accurate pay gap analysis?

If I'm a CMO, I should hope I'm being paid more than an SEO manager or Copywriter. That's nothing to do with gender, that's role based.

Are there more CMOs & digital officers that are male? Probably, hence the higher average salary. That's got more to do with career breaks for family reasons rather than a gender discriminated wage gap. Do female CMOs & digital officers get paid less on average with the same experience than their male counter-part? That would be a wage gap.

Unfortunately I can't access the full report, but maybe someone who can would be able to tell us if they have this pay gap analysis down to individual roles.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff

Hi Ben

We've had another comment along those lines. I've passed on to our research team and hopefully I'll come back to you soon.

Intersting when you say:

'Are there more CMOs & digital officers that are male? Probably, hence the higher average salary. That's got more to do with career breaks for family reasons rather than a gender discriminated wage gap.'

Career breaks are often not voluntary - women lose their jobs - which could still represent discrimination. It's certainly an interesting area, and one I admit I'm not that knowledgable about.

over 2 years ago


Andy Hooper, Digital Marketing Executive at Stewarts Law LLP

Ben Lines has said all that needed to be said really, Econsultancy please react quickly as I saw someone post this gender pay gap table on LinkedIn in absolute uproar, quite rightly. One can only hope that the detail within the data, job title/years experience by gender will actually show minimal or no pay gap.

over 2 years ago


Ben Lines, Digital Sales Manager at Fasthosts Internet Ltd

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the reply! Please do keep me updated, it would be really interesting to see what the data says.

Regarding the career breaks, I completely understand. It's something that I don't think will be able to be fixed easily with policies introduced by Governments. If I were having a child with my partner, would I prefer 12 months off work to help look after the baby? Of course! However, if that break disadvantaged my career path or trajectory would I have to reconsider? Unfortunately, I think so because of the impact it would have on my family if both parents were to take simultaneous career hits like that. Women don't really get that choice.

If the employee stays up to date with industry trends while on breaks, should the break have a negative affect on their career trajectory? Should they pick up a year or so later in the position that they left? A higher one having been keeping up to date? Lower one due to missed experience? This is something that will have be judged on a by person basis, by industry, by position. Unfortunately, I just don't see a way this will be fixed on anything other than a personal level without also affecting the company's other employees.

I guess my issue with the pay gap studies is that it's just not as simple as men get paid more than women, and unfortunately that's all that most people care about when these studies appear. It really promotes the mentality of X gets paid more, Y should get an increase, as opposed to why does X get paid more, what has Y done that could give them a disadvantage and how to we tackle that specific situation?

over 2 years ago

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