The Surprising Truth About Marketers, Education, and Salary Satisfaction

Does more education mean better pay? And does better pay mean more job satisfaction? Maybe…

Last year we began to investigate the connection between education and salary. It’s been a long held common belief that marketers need a bachelor’s degree, but the cost of a master’s degree or a doctorate is often not worth the investment. However, what we learned in the 2018 Hiring Trends Report told a surprisingly different story.

Marketers who hold a master’s degree on average earn $30,000 more annually than their counterparts with a bachelor’s alone.”

And in 2019, while the chasm narrowed a bit, it is still wide. The average marketer with a bachelor’s degree earned $100,020 while those with a master’s degree earned $123,470. Additionally, a report by CBS News says that marketing directors with master’s degrees earn a whopping 20 percent more than their counterparts who only have a bachelor’s degree. 

So should you start filling out your grad school applications now?

Not necessarily. 

According to data collected for the 2019 Hiring Trends Report, marketers who hold a master’s degree may be paid more than those with a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree, but they are not necessarily happier with their take home pay. Only 33% of marketers with master’s degrees say they are satisfied with what they are earning. And most do not believe they are being paid fairly relative to their local market. 

So if you get that master’s degree you may earn more, but that doesn’t mean you will feel that you are getting paid what you deserve. However, marketers who get master’s degrees and then move forward with terminal degrees, like doctorates, seem to not only earn more than their colleagues with master’s degrees alone, they are also much more satisfied with what they are earning. At $132,610, 67% of doctorate holders are satisfied with what they are earning and 83% report that they believe they are being compensated fairly according to market. 

So why don’t marketers with master’s degrees earn what they feel they deserve? It could be that master’s are the new bachelor’s degrees. They are more common than ever so marketers with master’s don’t command the high salary they anticipated. And perhaps marketers with master’s degrees took on debt to get those degrees, which could make them feel the financial pinch. 

More education may or may not be the answer to finding job and salary satisfaction, but one thing is clear: more education usually means a bigger paycheck. 

by McKinley Marketing Partners