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The good life

Marketers are working harder than ever but are they reaping the financial benefits? presents the Pharmaceutical Marketing Salary Survey 2004.

Marketers are working harder than ever but are they reaping the financial benefits?

Pharmaceutical companies are paying employees more than ever before and average salaries have risen by almost £3,000 over the last 12 months. For some of you this will come as no surprise, in fact you may be one of the lucky few to have experienced increases of more than 15 per cent in 2004, while others of you may be wondering what happened to your share.

Comparing your salary to that of your colleagues and peers is a common, if less than scientific, way of measuring your achievements and for many of us, an accurate method to judge our performance. Knowing where you sit in your department, in terms of salary, can be a critical success factor when negotiating that make or break pay rise.

The demographic breakdown of respondents taking part in this year's salary survey has not changed dramatically from those completing the survey in 2003. Yet, the average salary has risen to £51,600, which is up £2,800 from last year (an average rise of 5.7 per cent) and well above the average 2004 inflation rate of about 1.1 per cent (Source: Bank of England inflation report November 2004).

Nearly all respondents who completed the survey work full-time. The salary divide between the sexes is still as apparent as in previous years. While the gap has closed slightly, this year's salary survey found that men still earn, on average, 21 per cent more than their female counterparts. More than three times the number of men than women earn more than £80k.

On average, men are still earning more than their female counterparts. The average male salary during 2004 was £50,640 and for women, £44,966 (please note, these figures are based on calculations that exclude those for managing directors).

There are far fewer women at the top of the management tree, although there are signs that they are progressing further up the career ladder than before.

Salaries: on the up

More than 50 per cent of you have received a pay rise of between 2-5 per cent this year and about 62 per cent of you are expecting the same size increase next year. Men still received the greatest pay increases and also expect significant rises in 2005, while female respondents are expecting a smaller salary increase next year.

Both sexes are far more realistic about their salary expectations than they have been in previous surveys. Of all the age ranges, those respondents aged 25-34 are expecting the biggest pay rises over the next 12 months.

Basic salaries remain high and for most of you are increasing steadiily year-on-year. Yet, many of you are now remunerated according to your achievements, with 65 per cent of respondents working for a company operating a pay scheme which is performance-related.

The data suggests that all of you are taking performance-related pay very seriously, as three in four pharma marketers are expecting ñ and in some cases received ñ a bonus this year which is likely to be almost 20 per cent of their salary.


Top flight

Managing directors and marketing directors still enjoy the highest salaries. However, of those surveyed, MDs saw a slight decrease in their salary from £86.5k in 2003 to £86k this year and marketing directors had an average salary of just increase of 0.1 per cent.

Training managers can boast the largest salary increase of 2004 with a rise of 25 per cent. Market research managers also saw an increase of more than 20 per cent, which saw their salary rise £8.7k. Business unit managers too received a significant increase of 16 per cent, taking the average for this role from £55.4k in 2003 to £64.5k over the last 12 months.

Product/brand managers, regional sales managers and group product managers also enjoyed increases of 6.1 per cent, 3.9 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively. Nine per cent of the sample are in the high earners bracket, bringing in more than £80,000 per annum. The high earners tend to be the over-50's, with more than 30 per cent of them earning more than £80k a year. They are still the group with the highest average salary of around £67k, however the percentage increase on a salary tends to slow down after the age of 40.

Jobs for the ladies 

There are still many fewer women holding very senior positions although some cracks do seem to be appearing in the glass ceiling. There has been a rise in the proportion of women in managing director or chairman/CEO roles from none at all in 2003 to 11 per cent in 2004.

In addition, the proportion of women in the role of marketing director has risen 9 per cent from 13 per cent last year to 22 per cent this year. However, according to data from the survey, there are still no female finance directors.

The survey also revealed that women are mostly likely to occupy product manager or brand manager roles ñ in fact they out number men at this level.


Working day

The average working day in 2004 was 9.4 hours, which is the same as a year ago. Given that the paid working day is usually 7 or 7.5 hours in the UK, there remains a culture of working overtime for no additional pay. Although it can be said that respondents tend to overstate for this type of question, only 7 per cent of people are working less than an eight-hour day. Worryingly, 2 per cent of people are working more than 14 hours a day.

National sales managers, business unit managers and regional sales managers are most often citing 10-hour, or more, working days. Those under 25 years put in the least amount of overtime, averaging 8.4 hours a day, with 25-55+ all citing 9 or more hours.

Pharmaceutical marketers are still early risers too. The average time to start work is now 8.12am, which is 8 minutes earlier than last year. However, most of you, (62 per cent) seem to be getting to work between 8am and 9am in the morning. It seems like the older you are, the less beauty sleep you actually get, with the over- 55s getting in around 15 minutes before the younger staff.

Most of you manage to leave the office at the respectable time of 6pm. This varies very little across the age groups or job titles. Yet, you spend a lot of time away from home; on average marketers spend three and a half days working away on business a month. Men will spend slightly longer away than women ñ almost one night more. Again, those nocturnal over 55s have the least respite, claiming to spend 4.9 nights away per month. National sales managers get to rack up their loyalty points at hotels, spending an average of 6.6 nights away from home each month.

As in previous years, the trend continues for starting early with no proper break for lunch. However, as studies have shown, people who do not take proper lunch breaks are less efficient than those who take proper breaks and stop for a midday meal. Fortunately, 74 per cent of you say you never have to go into the office at weekends but this drops considerably to 24 per cent of you that say you never take work home at weekends.

Some 22 per cent of you said that you sometimes go into the office at weekends compared to 57 per cent of you that stated you sometimes take work home at weekends. One unlucky PR director in her 30s says she has to work every weekend! Managing directors, business unit managers and clinical researchers say they are doing more than their fair share of weekend work.

Evenings suffer too: 80 per cent of you said you take work home in the evenings. Some 57 per cent cited that you sometimes take work home while 7 per cent of you are always taking work home in the evenings.

Perks of the job

Surprisingly, more than 90 per cent of you get private healthcare cover as a perk. The top five perks include:

  • Private healthcare 90 per cent
  • Contributory pension 74 per cent
  • Company credit card 61 per cent
  • Life assurance 57 per cent
  • Share options 50 per cent

You enjoy quite a varied set of benefits, from gym and other club memberships, to season ticket travel allowances. Also popular are flexible working practices (35 per cent) and relocation packages (33 per cent).

When it comes to flexible working, as a number of you may expect, a higher proportion of female respondents (39 per cent) are making full use of this option, while fewer men (32.7 per cent) are adopting flexible working regimes.

In terms of relocation, more male respondents (36.9 per cent) are taking this option compared to 28.8 per cent of women in the industry. While nearly all of you can enter into a company pension scheme, only 24 per cent have a non-contributory pension. The benefits for working parents are still quite limited. Only 13 per cent get full maternity pay cover and only 4 per cent of you get help with nursery or school fees.

Get your motor running

Over 50 per cent of respondents now receive a company car as part of their benefits package although, according to previous salary surveys, this has been falling for the past eight years. Eighty per cent of male respondents get car-related benefits ñ almost 30 per cent more than the women surveyed (52 per cent).

German manufacturers have topped the list for both those getting a company car and those who receive car-related benefits. More than 20 per cent of respondents who get a company car chose an Audi: the most popular models where A4s and A3s. Nineteen per cent of you opted for a BMW: the most popular make here was the 320d followed by a 5 Series model.

Audi, which was favoured across the board, is particularly popular with product and senior product managers. BMWs are also popular with product and senior product managers, and the manufacturer can add managing directors to its list of admirers.

Most of you now get to choose exactly what type of car you get, as long as it's within the specified budget. Alternatively, some of you are able to make your own contribution to the cost. When using car allowance to purchase a car the popular brand was BMW (13 per cent), insecond place was VW (11 per cent) which is still one of the Volkswagen Audi Group brands, followed by Mercedes.

More than two-thirds of respondents stated that they receive car-related benefits, such as a loan, lease or an allowance, and usually this is paid as a top-up to the annual salary.


Getting away

Pharma marketers enjoy more than the state national average for holidays, accruing an average of 27 days, although they usually only get to take 25 of them. Under 25s receive an average of 21 days holiday rising to between 24 and 29 for 25-55+ years.

However, while most of you are managing to take your holiday very few of you are finding the time for career breaks. Only 2 per cent of people have taken a sabbatical in the last five years. One person is carrying the moral burden for the rest of us having taken time off for charity reasons.

Other cited reasons for taking a career break include travel or holidays, study leave or family reasons. Fifteen per cent of women have taken maternity leave, and 14 per cent of men have taken paternity leave in the last five years.

The average age for having a baby is 35-39 for both men and women ñ is this reflective of the fact that pharmaceutical marketers are very career-orientated?

Movers and shakers 

Many of you are loyal employees with 53 per cent having only worked in one company in the last five years. In fact, the average length of service with your current employer is five and a half years; an average which is actually pushed down by the more junior employees who haven't been in their current position for that long.

The average 45-49-year old has been with their current employer for seven and a half years. While a number of you have relatively long service records with your current employer, many of you have been promoted, or moved to another position, within the company: on average people have moved jobs twice in the last five years.

Job moves are linked quite strongly to age with 25-29-year olds moving jobs more than most. The tendency to change jobs, however, drops considerably by the age of 45-54. Of all those surveyed, product and brand managers are the most likely to change jobs.

What are you aiming for? Well, for most of you, the coveted job title lies in a marketing management or directorship role (19 per cent). For those of you who are already in these roles, you aspire to become the managing director. Sixty per cent of you would ideally like to climb the ranks in your current company; this is particularly true the older you are, especially for those aged between 50-54.

In recent years, there has been a flurry of merger activity and, as such, 58 per cent of you have lived through an M&A deal in your working life. Not surprisingly, the older you are, and the more senior position you hold, the more likely this is to have occurred.

Fortunately, only 29 per cent of you have experienced redundancy and of this figure, more men than women have struggled through it. Marketing directors and national sales managers appear to be the roles most at risk of redundancy.


We asked, when did you last update your CV? You're a savvy lot, updating your CVs regularly, which according to recruitment experts, is a good idea, whether you are looking to move on or not. More than 60 per cent of you said you had updated your CV in the last 12 months, with 22 per cent saying you have updated it over the last one to two years.

The older you are, the less likely you are to update your CV. There could be a number of reasons for this but looking at the data on job moves, it is fair to say that most people in this age group don't expect to be going anywhere! Over half of you (55 per cent) also say you have a five-year career plan, while a highly ambitious few (8 per cent) have a 10-year career plan.

Those with an MBA or Masters degree appear to have the most definite plans. Yet over a third of you (37 per cent) have no definite career plan at all and this is slightly more true of women.

When it comes to education, however, for most of you learning is a thing of the past. Sixty per cent of you said you do not intend to get more qualifications. However, 15 per cent of you ñ mostly those aged between 25-29 years old with a BA ñ are currently studying for a Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma (27 per cent) or MBA (14 per cent). Those most likely to enroll on a course are women under the age of 30.

Use of technology 

We asked you to tell us what kind of technology you use in order to do your job. A very large number (99 per cent) of you rely on the internet nowadays, with most people using it both at work and at home (63 per cent). You also rely heavily on your mobile phone, 92 per cent of you now use one.

Many of you appear also to have shifted over from PC working to working on a laptop, as only 37 per cent of you have a PC compared with 87 per cent of you using a laptop computer. Two-fifths of you now use a PDA, which is in line with figures from 2003. However, a lucky 4 per cent of you get to make use of the coveted Blackberry and most of you are men, over 30 and in a marketing director-level role.

Foreign climes

Only half of you have European or international experience within the pharmaceutical industry. Sixty-two per cent of you currently have a UK only role, 18 per cent have a European role and only 10 per cent have an international role.

While the proportion of you with European and international responsibilities is just 28 per cent, 83 per cent think that is 'essential' or 'important'. This is in keeping with a number of senior figures in the industry who believe that without experience of working internationally, you reduce your chances of getting to the top of the career ladder ñ for a number of you this is working either as a marketing or managing director.

Over 60 per cent of you hope to get more experience in the next five years. Almost 9 out of 10 of you believe that European issues are becoming more important and get this information from the following sources:

  • Internet 76 per cent
  • Trade press 68 per cent
  • In-house 64 per cent
  • National press 41 per cent

Foreign travel is now a large part of the job for both men and women with 89 per cent travelling by plane in 2004, mostly throughout Europe (70 per cent). On average, respondents are make eight business trips a year (8.6 for men and 7.4 for women). This rises to an average 18 trips a year for medical directors.

Sticking with it

More than 50 per cent of you intend to stay in the pharmaceutical industry, but 37 per cent are unsure. Despite the industry having been the subject of negative press over the last 12 months across the national daily newspapers, and the ongoing Health Select Committee Inquiry into the influence the pharmaceutical industry has on prescribers, more than half of you (63 per cent) are either 'quite' or 'very' (27 per cent) optimistic about the future of the industry and this comes mainly from the 25-34-year old age group.

Furthermore respondents in this age range are optimistic about the future, are also the group that expects to retire the earliest, at around 56. News that the retirement age in the UK is set to rise to 70 and, thereafter, be abolished may dampen their resolve!

The Authors
Mo Rice is an associate director and Julie McGuigan is head of marketing, both at GfK Martin Hamblin

2nd September 2008


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