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Resistance Is Futile

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Pictured: Charley Stoney, managing director, Alternatives Group

In this era of evolved marketing, data and digital are the new talent battleground, says Charley Stoney.

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE” is a well-known phrase that could well summarise the new 2017 Salary and Market Insights Survey from Alternatives Group and the Marketing Institute of Ireland. Several of its key findings are a big wake up call for Irish business and the wider marketing community.

Marketing is evolving at a rapid pace, re-inventing itself every number of years. Increasingly embracing additional responsibility for the new commercial priorities of Data and Digital, we’ve well and truly reached a point where the marketing function needs bigger representation on Boards. It’s a theme reflected in the survey and the talent we represent at Alternatives Group is telling us that they are no longer interested in accepting the status quo, orbiting the outer edges of the Boardroom. Instead they want a seat at the Table – literally. And in the hunt for great talent our client companies are also keen to deliver that aspiration. So surely, it’s an ambition that we can all get behind? If we don’t, marketing is in danger of getting left behind.

Ticking Time Bomb

The survey identifies a ticking time bomb for Irish business as many respondents have given themselves a two-year countdown before moving jobs – something that’s likely to cause considerable upheaval for Ireland Inc. if not planned with foresight.

As Ireland’s No. 1 marketing, digital and customer talent house we see other changes ahead. Collectively, we need to look at jettisoning the certainties of the past. With increasingly mobile talent, the notion of the long-term employee is becoming increasingly rare while the Gig economy is emerging as a preferred way of working. There’s also a degree of catch-up being played as companies seek to enhance their new technology, insights, data and digital skills.

Role Reversal

For many businesses it’s role reversal time. In the battle to recruit and retain talent they are now the ones selling themselves to current and potential employees because talent demand outstrips supply in many sectors.

While there’s definitely challenges ahead, the survey also reveals that the context in which we’re working in is encouragingly positive.

And while the poll finds that the gender pay gap has narrowed at certain levels (and in particular roles) there’s still much to do. At Alternatives Group we’re gender neutral. The ability to do a job brilliantly is about talent and not whether you’re male or female. In 2017, the marketing industry is getting better at reflecting that key truth.

So while there’s definitely challenges ahead, the survey also reveals that the context in which we’re working in is encouragingly positive.

Joan Fahey and Faye Constance, Senior Talent Managers, Alternatives Group

In this era of evolved marketing, data and digital are the new talent battleground, says Charley Stoney.

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE” is a well-known phrase that could well summarise the new 2017 Salary and Market Insights Survey from Alternatives Group and the Marketing Institute of Ireland. Several of its key findings are a big wake up call for Irish business and the wider marketing community.

Marketing is evolving at a rapid pace, re-inventing itself every number of years. Increasingly embracing additional responsibility for the new commercial priorities of Data and Digital, we’ve well and truly reached a point where the marketing function needs bigger representation on Boards. It’s a theme reflected in the survey and the talent we represent at Alternatives Group is telling us that they are no longer interested in accepting the status quo, orbiting the outer edges of the Boardroom. Instead they want a seat at the Table – literally. And in the hunt for great talent our client companies are also keen to deliver that aspiration. So surely, it’s an ambition that we can all get behind? If we don’t, marketing is in danger of getting left behind.

Ticking Time Bomb

The survey identifies a ticking time bomb for Irish business as many respondents have given themselves a two-year countdown before moving jobs – something that’s likely to cause considerable upheaval for Ireland Inc. if not planned with foresight.

As Ireland’s No. 1 marketing, digital and customer talent house we see other changes ahead. Collectively, we need to look at jettisoning the certainties of the past. With increasingly mobile talent, the notion of the long-term employee is becoming increasingly rare while the Gig economy is emerging as a preferred way of working. There’s also a degree of catch-up being played as companies seek to enhance their new technology, insights, data and digital skills.

Role Reversal

For many businesses it’s role reversal time. In the battle to recruit and retain talent they are now the ones selling themselves to current and potential employees because talent demand outstrips supply in many sectors.

While there’s definitely challenges ahead, the survey also reveals that the context in which we’re working in is encouragingly positive.

And while the poll finds that the gender pay gap has narrowed at certain levels (and in particular roles) there’s still much to do. At Alternatives Group we’re gender neutral. The ability to do a job brilliantly is about talent and not whether you’re male or female. In 2017, the marketing industry is getting better at reflecting that key truth.

So while there’s definitely challenges ahead, the survey also reveals that the context in which we’re working in is encouragingly positive.

Salaries are up across the board – and almost returned to boom time levels. The in-demand disciplines within marketing such as Data and Digital offer the most lucrative pay days. On other fronts, business confidence remains positive (despite the negative shadow cast by Brexit), digital dominance continues, and the marketing function is evolving to embrace a diversity of creative, scientific and tech talent.

Joan Fahey and Faye Constance, Senior Talent Managers, Alternatives Group

Tom Trainor, chief executive, Marketing Institute of Ireland (www.mii.ie) has an interesting perspective on the results. He said: “Now in its fourth year and with almost 1,200 respondents spread across small medium and large businesses, the survey represents 25 different industry sectors. It provides insights into how this community of professionals think; their view of consumer and market sentiment; their strategic role, the evolving role of marketing and the skill sets required to future proof careers. It’s invaluable intelligence for every growing business.”

The findings show:

  • 
61% of all respondents received an increase in salary (up from 56% in 2016).
  • 
The most lucrative roles are in Data (base 
salary Data Scientist €50k, top salary Data Analytics / Head of €150k) and Digital (base salary Digital/ Online executive €40k, top salary Digital Direct.


The highest average salaries according to respondents are:

  • 
Tech / IT sector: Commercial Director €175k;
  • 
Retail sector: Chief Marketing Officer €162k / Commercial Director €145k;
  • 
Financial Services sector: Corporate Affairs Director €165k / Business Intelligence Director €190k / Marketing Director €182k;
  • 
Telco sector: Segment Head €178k / Head of Product €125k;
  • 
FMCG sector: Marketing Director €150k,
  • 
Utilities sector: Commercial Director €155k.

The gender pay gap narrows but disparity continues.

  • 
Female respondents got lower salary increases than males – 42% got 5% or less vs. 36% males
  • 
61% of men got a bonus vs. 51% of their 
female counterparts;
  • 
The Top three roles where women lead men in salary terms are: Account Executive (17% gap – female €32,045 vs. male €27,500), Marketing Manager (13% gap- female €65,813 vs. male €58,076);
  • 
Talent “Time Bomb” as marketers move – with demand outstripping supply in many skills, many marketers are giving themselves a two-year deadline before moving jobs. That’s 43% of those at the level of Heads Of / Director, 60% of managers and mid-level managers and 57% of early to mid-stage career practitioners. That level of employee movement will be highly disruptive if not planned for now.

 Tops for marketing spend:  
TV on the wane & drops from Top 5

  • 
Unsurprisingly, Digital / Online is the top 
spend in the marketing industry for 70% of respondents followed by Press, Radio and Outdoor advertising at 35%, (a figure 
matched by those planning to spend 
on Events);
  • 
Half of those with €1 million plus marketing budgets will spend 11-30% on Digital while 10% will spend 50% (or more) on Digital.
  • 
Interestingly, TV advertising, the one-time unassailable biggest budget item falls out of the Top five for the first time at 23% perhaps reflecting the dynamic changes in viewer behaviour and new routes to information. Promotions and PR (26%), Sponsorship (27%) and Email marketing (28%) all lead TV;
  • 
Marketing budgets for 17/18 are in line with current market trends with 50% of respondents expecting no change while team size is on the increase.

 The Evolving Role of Marketing

  • 
59% of all respondents believe that responsibility for Digital lies either all or mainly within the marketing functions (36% replied that this was the case for Data Analytics).

Charley Stoney, managing director, Alternatives Group.

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ October 2017)© to order back issues please call 016611660