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UX designers see 21% pay increase YoY, Aquent reveals

Aquent/Vitamin T has launched its 2019 salary guide. The data has been compiled based upon 2018 UK placements the company has made for professional marketers, creatives and digital specialists.

Aquent has also analysed UK marketing sector salaries from the past four years and the following trends have emerged.

This year, entry level creative talent will have seen more enticing pay-packets on offer, with substantial pay rises, particularly for UX specialists. UX designers saw a 21% year-on-year rise to £37,500, graphic designers saw their pay go up 11% to £25,000 and artworkers 16% to £25,000.  Over the past two years, entry level design roles have seen healthy salary increases, after a long period of real term salary falls.

Project management marketing specialists have also seen entry level pay increases, particularly for digital project managers and account executives who saw 12% and 8% pay increases this year (to £33,000 and £26,000 respectively).

For midweight professionals, with over four years’ experience but less than ten, the increases follow a similar pattern. Again design roles have seen increases, about 8-12% for graphic, presentation, packaging designers along with artworkers in the past year. Digital and integrated designers only saw a 5% bump. Senior packaging designers have bucked the trend and seen 15% YoY growth.  

Mid-level project and account managers have seen no change in salaries in the past year with the exception of digtal project managers who’ve seen a 4% increase. The salaries for project and account managers are in the range of mid £30,000s to low £40,000s.

In 2018, senior professional roles saw substantial rises, however, this year the picture is rather different. Experienced designers, developers and copywriters were without pay increases. However, senior traffic managers have truly seen their worth recognised with a 28% salary increase to £55,000 (however, this is the first increase for this role since 2016). Marketing directors have also seen recognition and they now command an average of £95,000. Senior digital project managers saw a 5% increase (to £57,500) and technical project managers saw an 8% rise (to £65,000).

The app era may have peaked, as mobile app developers at all levels saw their salaries fall, with senior professionals seeing a 19% plummet. The increasing importance of data driven marketing is shown with an 18% rise in mid-tier marketing data analysts, who’ll now command £50,000.

However, despite the focus by many CMOs on content marketing, copywriters and wordsmiths still aren’t seeing any benefits in terms of their pay, as the past four years have seen no growth in writing and content salaries. Perhaps this is due to the deep (and hungry) talent pool available with journalistic training and experience. Copywriters with over ten years’ experience now command salaries of around £55,000 and senior copy editors £50,000.

Marketing isn’t a static industry and while demand for some roles has flat lined, Aquent has seen a dramatic increase in CMOs and agency leaders looking for video editors at all levels as well as user researchers and (digital) product designers.

For marketing and project management professionals, overall there’s been few pay increases, with the exception of specialist project managers, and mid and senior social media marketers. There was a 10% rise for the most senior social experts and a 15% rise to mid-tier ones bringing up their pay packets to £55,000 and £45,000 respectively.

Mid-tier CRM experts saw a substantial pay rise of 14% to £45,000. However, their senior colleagues who last year saw a salary rise of almost 30% bringing average salaries to £67,500, haven’t been so well rewarded this year.

Aliza Sweiry, managing director for the UK, said, “Marketing is ever-changing and the skills required by brands and agencies are always in flux. We’ve seen increased call for data analysts to ensure that CMOs can get the most from their martech investments. UX designers and digital product designers are keenly competed over and thus commanding large salary increases.

“Newer industry entrants have benefited from seeing their pay increase, after years of real-term falls. While marketing and creative careers are still an attractive destination for bright youngsters the industry is contending against the salaries and fashionable nature of big tech. Beyond this, the short supply of qualified candidates and with Brexit on the horizon Britain is no-longer the attractive destination to launch a marketing career. This has meant employers have had to raise salaries to attract talent.

“We’ve researched CMOs and across the board they say finding good people is a major headache. Our data shows that marketing leaders are finding it tough to source team members and with the skills shortage it’s a seller’s market particularly at more junior roles. Quality talent is snapped up. Fast.

“Aquent/VitaminT places top talent both agency and brand-side so we’ve got a unique overview of what’s happening in the marketing space.”

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