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Kees Kruythoff

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Sir Martin Sorrell

founder & executive chairman

Creative, marketing and digital salary survey 2017

Creative, marketing and digital salary survey 2017

Our annual salary survey, supported by The Drum, continues to be read by the industry and is a tool that benchmarks salaries and trends in the creative, marketing and digital industries.

This year the survey shows interesting insight across salaries and bonuses, job satisfaction, job security and gender differences. There are also some distinct trends across our key specialisms.

Despite the political turbulence in the last year, such as Brexit and the US election, this has had a minimal impact on recruitment and hiring. There was a small dip in the latter part of 2016 but it seems confidence in the UK economy remains positive. Major Players experienced a 16% increase in the number of vacancies across the board in 2016.

There is a strong demand for good people across all business types and specialisms, but especially in agencies and for those working in digital and creative. It does appear there is a shift towards clients bringing teams in-house as well as using agencies.

According to the Financial Times, a report from the (UK) Government’s Strategy Unit has concluded that the creative industries in London are now more important than financial services to the economy. Employment in the creative industries is still rising, compared to the falling in financial services.

To see the full range of roles in more detail, visit see full salary for every job title including freelance, visit

Key trends

Pay increases

There has been significant pay increases across all disciplines, either by progression within the same company or by moving jobs. The highest pay rises were witnessed in planning & strategy (41%), account handling (38%) and tech/UX (37%) – all receiving a pay rise over 10% above the national average of 3%.

Why do people leave their jobs?

By far the biggest reason for people wishing to leave their jobs was due to limited career progression in their current role, followed by remuneration.


Automation, programmatic, AI and continued integration are all areas that are expected to grow.

Job satisfaction

Overall, satisfaction in the creative marketing and digital disciplines is high, with around 70% being largely satisfied in their current role. The highest satisfaction levels seem to be in content, editorial and social, followed by PR and marketing.


The need for a better work-life balance has become increasingly more desirable for all, with flexible working the most sought after benefit. This was favoured even over a bonus.


Those in the industry are well-educated – around 84% have a degree or Masters.


Budgets are highest in digital marketing – 33% of our survey working in digital marketing have a budget of £1m+.

About the survey

The survey was compiled by Major Players using data collected from 3,200 respondents combined with insight gathered from industry experts. The table represents an overview of job levels and salary averages in all listed disciplines. For full information on specific job roles, visit: or call: 020 7836 4041

This is just a snapshot of the primary roles. For freelance rates and other roles download the full report here.