Salary Satisfaction By Generation: What Do Marketers Earn and How Do They Feel About It?

Compensation is personal. It’s one of the most important aspects of work. So what are marketers actually getting paid in 2019? And how do they feel about it? Today we’re taking a deeper look at marketer compensation and satisfaction by generation.

The average marketer earns $107,100 annually. Boomers earn the most at $127,860 while Gen Z earn the least at $57,290. Gen X earns almost as much as Boomers at $123,700 but Millennials trail far behind Gen X at $99,800. The disparity may be attributed to the fact that older millennials entered the job market during and after the Great Recession where entry level salaries took a major hit. Research shows that those who enter the job market during an economic downturn likely never catch up to other generations who enter during times of economic prosperity. 

Salary Satisfaction By Generation: What Are Marketers Earning and How Do They Feel About It? 

Across all four generations, only 41 percent of marketers are satisfied with their compensation. Slightly more–44 percent–of marketers believe they are compensated fairly relative to their position and local market. 

Gen Z are the most pleased with their salaries, of the four generations. 65 percent say they are satisfied and believe they are compensated fairly relative to the local market. Could that be early career optimism? They’re not jaded by finding out colleagues are earning more? Or perhaps it’s because any full-time salary feels like “a lot” after graduating from life as “poor college student?” 

Less than half of Millennials are satisfied with their salary (43 percent). And even fewer (41 percent) believe that they are compensated fairly relative to the local market. This begs the question–why aren’t they doing something about it? We are in a candidate’s market, a time of “full employment,” so if Millennials really can go out and earn more, they should. Are they staying in their current jobs because of a fear of change? Because they entered the job market during a recession, perhaps they are nervous about making waves. Better to stay in a job where they don’t feel compensated fairly than to risk putting themselves out there and asking for more? 

Least satisfied of all four generations is Gen X. Only one in three Gen X marketers are satisfied with their salaries and only 38 percent believe they are compensated fairly relative to the local market. Gretchen Stanford, Senior Director, Business Development at McKinley Marketing Partners believes this is a reflection of Generation X’s stage of life: “Gen Xers have a lot on both their professional and personal plates. They are raising kids, paying for college, and trying to save for retirement. They are assessing their lives, what they’ve accomplished and what they haven’t. Gen Xers also are realizing that they don’t have the infinite amount of time they had in their twenties and thirties.” 

While Boomers only earn a little bit more than Gen X ($160 annually), they are much more satisfied with their salaries (40 percent) and believe they are much more fairly compensated relative to the local market at (54 percent). This, of course, is not taking into consideration Boomers who are underemployed or unemployed. 

Compensation and salary satisfaction both vary greatly be generation. Are you surprised by these findings? In this year’s Marketing Hiring Trends Report, we not only reported on the current state of marketing salaries, we also reported on remote teams, the phenomenon of ‘ghosting,’ ageism, and the most in demand specialties. Download the full report free here.

by McKinley Marketing Partners