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Success is bittersweet

According to Pharmaceutical Marketing's annual salary survey, as pharma marketers you'll be glad to know that you are all earning more than you were 12 months ago

Good things usually come at a price and salaries in marketing are no exception

After enjoying a well-earned break, which hopefully brought relaxation and refreshment to your life, as pharma marketers you'll be glad to know that you are all earning more than you were 12 months ago, according to Pharmaceutical Marketing's annual salary survey. However, this has come at a price; you are taking work home with you more regularly and still failing to take all your annual leave.

The 2005 salary survey reveals an annual salary increase of almost £2k, bringing the average pay packet to £53.5k (excluding bonuses) compared with £51.6k in 2004.

Of the 492 respondents, 55 per cent were men and 45 per cent were women - similar to previous years but an indication of the growing number of women in the industry.

All the big earners in this survey are men (6 per cent) earning a basic salary of over £100k and aged from 35 years to 50+. The increase in the number of respondents taking home big money is due mainly to younger men (35-44 years) commanding six figure sums. If you want to be part of this exclusive group, start looking for a role as director or department head in marketing, business unit, medical, commercial or PR & communications.

Following hard on their heels are the 5 per cent who earn over £90k. This group has grown by 3 per cent since 2004, with only 1 per cent of women falling into this band.

We looked at the differences in salaries between those who have a focus on the UK, European or other international markets, and found that those of you who focus on UK business appear to be the poor relations; your colleagues whose roles require a European focus are paid over £10k more, while those marketers working with an international focus receive an extra £13k over folk focused solely on the UK.

Click here to see Average (Mean) Salaries for 2005 (£000's)

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Biotech companies, on average, pay the most handsomely followed closely by diagnostic firms and OTC manufacturers; however, it is worth pointing out that all three have relatively small bases. While the majority of respondents work for an ethical pharma company, they earned almost £5k less compared with colleagues in biotech companies.

Having an MBA or a PhD also certainly pays dividends, with the average salary being over £60k - more than £5k above the closest rival graduates. Two thirds of those who took part in the survey had a BA or BSc with an average earning for 2005 of approximately £53.5k, while a fifth (21 per cent) of respondents with a marketing diploma earn an average of £54.3k.

Early fortune

The trend for people to secure higher levels of remuneration relatively sooner in their career continues. This is particularly true for those aged under 29 and those aged 30-34 where the average salary rises nearly 16 per cent between one group and the other.

In general, salaries increase in the region of £7k to £8k as people move from one age group to another. However, as you might expect, the level of salary increase slows up for those who are older and on larger salaries.

Increases in salary also slow down when people reach 45 years of age. Indeed, the number of people over 45 who took part in the survey is more than 33.3 per cent less than those in younger age groups. The figure drops by one-third again for respondents aged 50 and over. It seems then, from this survey, that salary and competition are more the preserve of the younger workers.

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Gender gap

Previous records show that, historically, women have lagged behind their male colleagues on the pay scale. According to figures for 2004 this gap decreased last year, but in 2005 the difference widened again and there is now more than a £12k discrepancy between the average salaries for men and women.

This could be explained partly by the fact that the vast majority of men work full-time (98 per cent) but one in 10 women work part-time, and that all those earning over £100k are men.

When we exclude those earning £100k+, the difference drops back to approximately £8k, which is in line with last year's figures. There are similar percentages of males and females earning £40k and £49,999 per annum and women are making progress up through the ranks.

However, it is clear that they still have some way to go.

In general, women in marketing are likely to earn less than their male counterparts and the divide between the sexes widens dramatically after the £49,999 mark - this is particularly apparent in marketing at director level, where men outnumber women by four to one. Women should take heart from this figure however, as it has halved since 2003 when the number of men working at director level outnumbered women by eight to one.

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Bonus ball

Nearly nine in every 10 (87 per cent) of those surveyed received a bonus in 2005 (92 per cent of men and 81 per cent of women). Some lucky souls (23 in total), most of whom were male directors, department heads or senior managers, received a bonus of £20k+. If you work in a position with a European or international focus your chances of receiving £20k or more as a bonus increase significantly.

The majority of those who did get bonuses received between £2,500 and £12,499 for their efforts, though the figures suggest that bonuses, even those at the lower end of the scale, are the reserve of senior pharmaceutical folk.

More than a quarter of executives (28 per cent) and one in every 10 managers - both of which are likely to be on relatively lower salaries (£40k or less) and without a company car or related benefit - did not receive a bonus.

To get a better picture, we asked respondents what basic salary increases they had over the past 12 months. Over half (58 per cent) had received a 2 to 5 per cent increase in the last year, while almost one in five (19 per cent) were lucky enough to receive a 6 to 10 per cent increase.

With regard to performance in 2006, on the whole respondents anticipate receiving similar salary increases of between 2 and 5 per cent over the year, though more people (two-thirds of employees) hope to achieve this in 2006 than actually did achieve it in 2005. Some 15 per cent expect an `06 salary hike of 6 to 10 per cent.

2nd September 2008

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