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Latest findings from 2019 Alternatives & MII Salary, Market Insights and Sentiment Survey

17 October 2019 by Sandra Lawler

Latest findings from 2019 Alternatives & MII Salary, Market Insights and Sentiment Survey

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The  2019 Alternatives & MII Salary, Market Insights & Sentiment Survey

Brexit Impact Hits & Senior Gender Pay Gap Widens to €17,500

Double digit percentage salary increases 

Flexible working even more popular with Flex Generation

“The reality of Brexit and its possible impact, the emergence of a hyper competitive market for talent, the dominance of digital spend, fluctuating consumer sentiment, widening disparity between what men and women are paid for doing the same job and the enduring popularity of flexible working are some of the key factors influencing the marketing industry in Ireland”. That’s according to Sandra Lawler, Founder Director of Alternatives (, Ireland’s No 1 Marketing and Customer Talent solutions specialists commenting on the new Alternatives & Marketing Institute of Ireland 2019 Salary, Market Insights & Sentiment Survey, which provides a unique insight into Ireland’s Marketing industry. Now in its sixth year and with over 1,000 respondents from the marketing, digital and customer community, it takes an in-depth look at preparedness for Brexit, differences by company sector, size, career level and gender in areas including market sentiment, salaries and benefits in addition to the role and focus of the marketing function.

Key Survey Findings:
  • Overall, sentiment is 53% negative with 14% uncertain.
  • The sectors most negative about Brexit impact are Motor 94%, Retail 82% and FMCG 81%. The sectors with a more positive or benign viewpoint are Ecommerce 25%, IT/Tech 29% and Gaming 29%.
  • The most prepared sectors for Brexit are Government, Retail and Gaming while the least prepared include Agency, Hotel / Leisure and Manufacturing.
  • Despite a commitment to pay equality, the gender pay differential in Irish firms remains significant. It increases the more senior the career level, including on a like for like role basis, with male directors for example getting paid on average €17,500 more than their female counterparts for, on average, the same role and/or level.
  • Also, the gap in salaries, rather than narrowing, has instead increased in the last year, particularly at head of level (gap is +11% this year, vs +8% last year) and manager level (gap is +7% this year, vs +3% last year).
  • On the Benefits front, there’s also a gender gap with males accruing more benefits (car, bonuses, healthcare, share options etc) than their female counterparts in permanent, flexible and remote working. The only benefits exception is in part time working where females out-pace males.      
  • Overall though, the picture that emerges is that females should seek - and get – benefits parity. 
  • Overall, marketing is a well remunerated industry. Salaries range from support level at an average of €34,000 base salary (+13% vs LY) to Directors at an average of €132,000 (+8% vs LY).
  • On an average basis, the most lucrative roles by level are Marketing Director €141,000, Head of Online €109,000 and Head of Marketing €95,000                  
  • In a hyper competitive market for talent which puts upward pressure on salaries, 2 in 3 got a salary increase last year.                              
  • Again, on average, multi-nationals pay better than Irish companies and larger companies pay better than smaller companies.
Talent Trends
  • Issues with engagement continue, although somewhat improved vs last year.
  • 53% plan to stay with their company for two years or less and only 59% would recommend their employer to a friend.
Flexible Working
  • The drive to embrace flexibility, both to compete in the market using flexible talent and as means to engage employees by offering flexible working options, will build in the coming years.
  • With this “Flex Generation”, both females and males rate flexible working as one of their lead factors of engagement. 75% of respondents get offered some flexible working option, and contrary to popular opinion, male respondents get offered more options to work remotely or with flexible hours than their female counterparts. 61% of males and 52% of females can work remotely, 49% of males and 46% of females can avail of flexible hours. 15% of female respondents can work part time (i.e. a 4-day week for example) vs 8% of males. 
  • Bernie Keogh, MD of Alternatives said: “As the business that pioneered flexible working in the marketing industry in Ireland in 2000, providing an “alternative way of accessing great talent”, the era of flexibility has truly arrived.  In the battle for talent, 70% of respondent companies use Interim Managers and contractors and one in three respondents have themselves contracted or freelanced before. In addition, the desire to work flexibility has never been greater amongst the flex generation of men and women. An organisation that can respond to this will win the battle for talent and have a more engaged workforce.” 
Marketing Spend & Investment
  • Respondents report working with tight resources, with most Marketing departments having teams of under 10 and budgets of under €1m.
  • The dominance of Digital continues in terms of budget allocations with Digital (including Content and Social) at 58%, Events at 40% and Digital PPC/SEO at 38% of spend. Meanwhile Press / Radio and Outdoor advertising has just 32%. 
  • With digital priorities, there is now an-over focus on short term tactical spend to the detriment of long-term brand building.                                    
  • In addition, 61% of respondents said marketing was perceived as a strategic, revenue generating partner. However, 19% felt it was perceived as a support function.
  • Customer sentiment in the last year was strong but less robust than previous years. 
  • The future trading outlook is still positive overall, but declining.                                                                                                                                

Tom Trainor, Chief Executive, the Marketing Institute of Ireland said: “The challenges facing the marketing profession in 2020 and beyond are well flagged in this new survey. The period ahead will provide marketers with the opportunity to demonstrate the real value of our profession to business. The strategic importance of Marketing has never been more central to economic health, as our members seek to consolidate existing local markets and to look outwards globally to explore new international opportunities. Learning and development needs to be a constant feature of life for all marketing practitioners if we are to realise the potential of our profession.

Bernie Keogh, Managing Director, Alternatives concluded: “Once again, the diverse range of survey results all point to how essential it is for companies to successfully compete in an increasingly complex and fast paced talent market.  A good company to work in, is one with a strong vision and purpose, a positive culture, good career opportunities, flexible working, investment in training and coaching, as well as good salary and benefits.”

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