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2023 Salary Survey: marketing, PR and digital market trends

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From the people who brought you the 2022 Harris Hill Salary Survey... yes, it's the 2023 Harris Hill Salary Survey which is out now, and this year we're taking a closer look at the market in several key areas.

You can view or download the survey here to check out the figures:

​One striking feature this year is that market conditions vary substantially between charity departments – there's a widespread shortage of candidates, but in areas like marketing, it’s a very different story, as our specialists explain.​

Marketing, PR and Digital market trends

There’s always one. One team swimming against the tide, bucking the trend and making us add caveats like ‘in most areas’ to every statement, and this year it’s the turn of the marketing, PR and digital world.

Salary increases have been modest, and candidates can only dream of having the same kind of clout as their fundraising colleagues, for several reasons.

Chief among these is that marketing teams have long sourced talent from outside the sector, with marketing skills considered transferable and a commercial perspective often actively sought. As a result, charities can draw from a far bigger pool of candidates, who in turn have more competition.

However, the traffic isn’t all one way: a considerable number return to commerce each year, after accepting a salary cut to get into the charity sector, expecting a sizeable increase after a year’s experience, and learning that whoever told them to is not to be trusted in future.

The trouble with transformation

It’s been a focus for some years, but opportunities in digital transformation multiplied as Covid-19 saw charities scrambling to shift operations online, dragging even the last few digital dinosaurs into the new decade. Here in 2023 however, with most of those transformations now complete, it leaves a lot of experienced talent looking for what comes next.

That may be one reason we’ve seen roles becoming broader: instead of hiring separate communications and digital specialists, charities are now more likely to have one person covering both, which makes sense now the lines between these categories are so blurred as to barely exist.

Condensing two roles into one leaves fewer in total, of course, making the market more competitive still.

Marketers on the move

The pandemic also plays a part in the current abundance of available candidates, with the numbers looking to move in 2022-23 boosted by those who’d have done so in 2020-21, but held off until it felt less like a very bad and possibly ruinous idea.

Once that bumper cohort settles into new roles, those numbers are likely to decline, but not for long: marketers are now moving on sooner and more frequently than ever, often motivated by salary, and with many seeing it as the only reliable route to a respectable increase.

Most charities are fairly up to date on the market and realistic about what they need to offer, but some continue to aim low, banking on the strength of their brand to attract new talent. Unlike other areas however, charities rarely need to increase their original offer to fill a vacancy.

A flexible step too far

Like others, marketers have firmly embraced hybrid and remote working, with few takers for roles requiring more than two office days per week.

Employers have occasionally tried to offer lower rates for remote workers, but candidates have invariably put the idea back in its rather mean-spirited box by rejecting such offers, leaving roles all but impossible to fill on these terms.

To see the salaries, as well as those in all other major charity departments, see the full 2023 SalarySurvey here, while for help with recruiting or your marketing/digital job search, please contact our specialists:

Hannah Whittington

​020 7820 7302

Email Hannah

Lizzy Clark

​020 7820 7333

​Email Lizzy

Search Marketing, PR & Digital jobs

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