Female CMO salaries eclipsed men’s in 2019, study finds

Dive Brief:

  • Female marketing executives last year reported higher pay than men in 2019, the CMO Council found in a new study shared with Marketing Dive. Female salaries on average were about $213,000 and their bonuses $56,000, while males earned an average of $210,000 and bonuses of $53,000.
  • Marketing executives, including women and men at companies with more than 250 employees, reported average salaries of about $236,000 and bonuses of $69,000 for 2019. At companies with 50 to 249 employees, marketer salaries averaged $180,000 and bonuses were $33,000. For smaller companies with 10 to 49 employees, the comparable numbers were $103,000 and $15,000. Companies with fewer than 10 employees saw salaries average $175,000 and bonuses $22,000, the global network of senior marketing executives found. 
  • More than half (57%) of CMOs expressed dissatisfaction with their compensation packages even as they hit their goals. About two-thirds (65%) of chief marketers expected a raise in 2020, per the survey, though the survey was taken before the coronavirus pandemic sliced through the global economy.

Dive Insight:

The higher pay for female marketing executives compared to their male counterparts may reflect the growing number of women who work in marketing at bigger companies whose revenue and salary packages are often higher than at SMBs. Large companies are more likely to have performance-based compensation that includes year-end bonuses, the CMO Council notes. Its study also found that digital marketing skills are key, with CMO salaries rising alongside higher levels of performance.

The report supports other research indicating that major advertisers are hiring women as CMOs more often. The percentage of female CMOs at the 100 most advertised brands rose to 43% last year from 36% in 2018 and 28% in 2017, according to executive search firm Spencer Stuart. The percentage of female CMOs who were new to the job rose to 48% last year from 44% in 2018 and 38% in 2017. The trend may indicate that more women will be hired as CMOs in the years ahead as companies look to diversify their leadership.

Anecdotal reports of big companies that have hired or promoted women as marketing leaders support the CMO Council’s report. For example, consumer packaged goods (CPG) giant Unilever promoted Conny Braams into a new role as chief digital and marketing officer in January 2020. She previously oversaw the company’s Middle Europe operations. Kimberly-Clark, another mass marketer of CPG goods, this week named Zena Arnold as chief digital and marketing officer. She previously worked at Google, Kellogg and Procter & Gamble. The appointments are another sign that women not only are in leadership roles at big companies, but also that digital marketing has become more important.

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