Over more than three decades, we’ve seen marketing careers and opportunities grow as it becomes an increasingly essential part of any business. At its core, marketing is about understanding customers and clients and building a relationship with them. And that is as true of digital and data-driven marketing as it is in more traditional marketing. But with so many different opportunities in this fast-paced industry – we wanted to shine a light on marketing jobs and careers in the UK.
Marketing is ultimately a process closely linked to sales. But other promotional activities like PR, social media and advertising can fall under the marketing umbrella too. And although it may feel like a sector that has only been around for a few decades, it’s actually much older. The first billboard was invented by Jared Bell to advertise a circus in America 1835. Search engine marketing actually began in 1995, a long time before Google.
But back to business. The good news is that despite the economic challenges of the pandemic, marketing job vacancies began to rise again in 2021 along with media, advertising, sales and PR, according to the Total Jobs Hiring Trends Index.
According to a report by Marketing Week marketing managers have been in particularly high demand, along with roles paying between £25,000 to £50,000. Although there are plenty of opportunities in marketing across all levels, and according to recruitment company Hays, these are the ten marketing roles that have seen the highest pay increases since pre-Covid 19.
But one area of concern is a skills gap across marketing. Hays, Marketing Week and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) have all highlighted this issue. A study published by the CIM and training body Target Internet highlights a decline in digital skills across all job levels and sub-sectors, with the biggest gap in analytics and data. With data and digital fast-growing, it’s important for employers to invest in training, and for marketers to up skill to keep pace.
And when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, more companies will need to offer flexible and hybrid working models. According to the Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey 2022, 82 per cent of marketing professionals surveyed identified both as important, and around half are currently working in hybrid models.
The world of marketing is and always has been highly competitive. But the good news is, there are different routes into it, and plenty of entry-level positions. According to career sites like Monster and Target Jobs the qualifications required vary by company. But university degrees in creative or digital and commercial disciplines such as journalism, business and communications have been identified as providing relevant skills for a career in marketing. Entry level opportunities might come through graduate schemes, which are typically offered by larger companies.
Graduate schemes can run from a three or six-month placements to two-three year programmes. And some of the longer schemes are geared towards management and leadership opportunities. Organisations that currently run graduate marketing schemes include Aviva, DHL, Virgin Media, Diageo, Mitsubishi and Centria.
Another route into a marketing career is by taking an assistant or junior role. Entry level marketing or marketing-related roles include marketing assistant, marketing administrator, communications assistant, junior copywriter, social media assistant, and sales and marketing assistant. Most of these jobs will involve supporting a team and learning some of the creative, digital, and promotional skills that will help you progress and specialise later in your career.
Recruiters, and of course Career Academy can help you prepare for your first marketing interview. But there are also industry-specific sites with dedicated marketing, advertising and PR listings including Campaign, Marketing Week Jobs, PR Week Jobs and The Drum Jobs. You should also set up alerts on job sites such as Indeed, Total Jobs, Monster, Reed or LinkedIn.
Most marketing jobs are in-house, with just under a quarter of marketing professionals working on a freelance basis.
Some of the main types of marketing include:
Offline marketing: Although this is a more traditional form of marketing including print magazine, newspaper, billboards, – TV ads still have huge reach.
Digital marketing: Involving any kind of marketing and promotional activity using the internet as the primary messaging channel or platform. Examples include SEO, social media, and blogging.
Content marketing: This is a type of marketing that is focused on the creation and distribution of consistent, relevant and valuable content to engage with your target audience. It can overlap with digital marketing and examples include for example videos, social media posts, newsletters and podcasts.
B2B or B2C marketing: These types of specialist marketing activities are usually carried out by agencies rather than companies. B2B stands for Business to Business and B2C stands for Business-to-Consumer. Some agencies marketers might switch between both, but as the name suggests B2B involves businesses marketing to other businesses, while B2C is marketing products to services directly to consumers.
Based on job listings on sites including The Guardian, Reed, Hays and Indeed, mid to senior level management and executive positions are among the most advertised. Roles include: marketing manager, sales and marketing manager, marketing and brand manager, social media manager, digital marketing manager and content manager.
This is also consistent with the kind of roles being searched for by candidates, especially in digital marketing, according to research by the Open Business Council. Some people work across different marketing platforms, but more often you’ll find the type or specialism reflected in the job title when roles are advertised.
These are the average salaries across junior, mid-level to senior and head of department marketing positions, according to the Major Players Salary Survey 2022.
It’s worth noting regional differences in marketing salaries. Although this information isn’t broken down in the Major Players report, some of the figures above align with median earnings in London and the South East.
Recruitment website Reed gives the £37,754 the UK average salary for marketing and media. Elsewhere, according to the CWJobs salary checker, the average annual marketing salary in London is £52,500, that’s compared to £47,500 in Warrington, Edinburgh and Cardiff, £42,500 in Bristol and £37,500 in Manchester. But the area where the average marketing salaries are the lowest is currently the East Midlands with Leicester and Peterborough on the lower end at £32,500.
Marketing in the UK has already weathered several difficult periods over the past few years. Different factors like Brexit and Covid 19 have all had an impact. But as we’ve seen from the rise in opportunities during the second half of 2021: it’s also an incredibly resilient industry. So, although 2023 will bring more economic challenges, it’s worth remembering the UK has one of the best-performing advertising sectors in the world. And it’s likely that data ad technology will continue to drive marketing, which means more job and learning opportunities for marketing professionals.
Career Academy is a free resource for candidates working in the creative sector in the UK, or those wishing to enter the creative industries so that’s roles in marketing, PR, creative, design, production, digital, communications, and social media.