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Marketing salaries grow despite global pandemic

Despite the huge economic impact of Covid-19, average salary levels across the marketing and creative sectors remained robust and grew in 2020, setting up the PR industry for a positive 2021 as the UK comes out of lockdown.

The Reed Marketing & Creative Salary Guide 2021 shows that Covid-19 has not had a negative impact on overall salary levels. In fact, the majority of positions advertised in 2020 showed an increase in salary, with an average 0.4% growth resulting in a typical salary of £45,124, compared to £44,924 in 2019.

Early hit

However, it wasn’t a smooth 2020. Like many industries, the sector took a huge hit at the beginning of the pandemic.

Marketing strategies and budgets were instantly under scrutiny, being reviewed, revised and, in a lot of cases, cut substantially. In fact, it wasn’t until the summer that the number of jobs posted online for the sector stopped falling and started to bounce back. In April, the Keep Britain Working job index recorded the volume of jobs in the marketing and PR sector being 87% lower than January that year.

Keep Britain working job index for marketing and PR jobs

Recovery followed

From that low point, businesses began to rebuild in order to move forward. That recovery has been demonstrated by the stability of pay highlighted in our salary guides, but also by the steady recovery of job creation. In February this year, the Keep Britain Working job index stood at 57 points – a significant climb from 22 in June – indexed against a base of 100 in January 2020.

Our industry knows that increasing PR and communications activity in a recession helps businesses recover faster. Now more than ever, marketing professionals and their companies are being asked to drive growth, engagement, and return on investment.

Average salaries for marketing and PR roles

Innovative times

But it’s not just an increase in activity that is important. An increase in innovation has become vital.

This innovation is reflected in the salary guide, with a huge demand for digital and data expertise. Digital PR is always evolving, but the pandemic has accelerated how we adapt, track and communicate with consumers. As a result, influencer marketing, customer experience, paid social, data analytics and social media are just some of the areas that are, or have already become, established roles in our industry in the past few years. And there is such a wealth of knowledge needed in these areas that we are seeing increasing specialisms appearing.

If the data in our salary guides shows us one thing, it is that the breadth of role in the PR sector is growing, with interesting future unfolding in 2021 and beyond. The challenge is to keep modernising and adapting to the shape of the media, the customers and the clients that we serve – because standing still is not an option.


Reed’s 2021 Marketing & Creative Salary Guide (here) is based on the analysis of over 6.5 million jobs posted to over the last three years.

Written by Jodie Clayton, marketing and creative expert at employment specialist Reed

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