Thursday, February 28, 2008

What You're Supposed To Be Earning

London Headhunters 'The Talent Business' produce the authoritative industry guide to pay and pay trends, which they provide to agency management. And a friendly ECD let me have a copy to put up on Scamp.

Here's the key table -

Are you on the right amount? And do you think the bands are fair?


Anonymous said...

great insight! thanks scamp. from what i know you ll paid 1.000 - 3.000 more if you start in integrated. Interesting to see the difference between atl and intergrated.

are you in the right braket? i reckon as it seems quite broad.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

I'd be interested to see how this compares for account folk and planners.

Cleaver said...

I'm not sure thinking about it in terms of fairness or desert is useful.

It would be hard to argue that, in our society, the size of one's pay packet is determined by the social usefulness or the moral worth of one's job.

It's determined by the value the market places on the skills you have.

So the question is: given all the negative stuff (lack of job security, lower rates than comparable professions, having to fight for every extra pound as opposed to automatically getting an annual raise), most of which seems to be getting worse, when does being a creative become an unattractive career path ?

When it stops attracting talented people, our industry is screwed. So at that point I imagine it self corrects, and conditions start to get better.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm. So it's official. I'm underpaid. Good job I chatted to a headhunter yesterday.

Anonymous said...

what were people moaning about in the friday poll...looks pretty good to me. sure it's not goldman sachs but then you're not chained to a desk in suit 24/7 pushing funds around the world...

be interesting to see comparison with the other side (accounts etc)

proxikid said...

Agree with Rob, would be interesting to compare to accounts and planning.

Anonymous said...

Do you become middlewieght when your pay hits 30k or is it the other way round?

Scamp said...

Alas I don't have the planning or account handling figures. Perhaps a headhunter would like to comment anonymously?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Mr Purple. Underpaid.

That's why I cane expenses and have my book at 4 agencies right now.

Or maybe that's why I'm underpaid.

Whatever. Give me some more cash and I'll work a bit fucking harder. You get what you pay for, people.

Anonymous said...

What pay are the digital guys on?

Be interesting to see.

Anonymous said...

That's good to know. I'ma junior creative on 27K.

Anonymous said...

excellent question above about what exactly puts you into each band: pay level? experience? number of awards? age? waist size?

i'm paid as a middleweight, senior experience, no awards, senior age, junior waist size.

that's a damn bad combination - apart from the waist size.

Lunar BBDO said...

What I don't understand is why it's all so bloody secret. There seems to be so much wrapped up in the politics and envy of salary levels.

I guess it's such a bare measure of your worth/success etc. that it's a bit like showing everyone your John Thomas (or female equivalent). No matter how impressive you think it is, there's always someone with a bigger one (I guess that doesn't work with the female equivalent bit; is a large vagina a good thing?)

Cedric said...

Interesting note Scamp, I knew my mom was right when she encouraged me to keep on drawing... Damn, why these teenagers never listen the older ones!!!

Otherwise, I am interested in the fact that most people think they are underpaid. But you could reverse the question and ask yourself are you that good. Tough question, and in all honestly it is sometimes wise not "to piss higher than his own ass" (as we beautifully say in French).

Finally, coming from the dark side of the force, on top of the other side of the Channel, I can confirm that:
a- Creative people on this side of the Channel are better paid than in Paris for instance where the discrepencies between junior and middle weight is less. There is a significant gap when you become a senior creative. But between 1 and 5 years in advertising in Paris, it's tough a life.
b- A few headhunters might provide you with a more in-depth comparison, but my perception is that account people are aligned with the lower end of your brackets. And I feel this is totaly normal as creative are the key resource of agencies, whilst planners and account handlers are facilitators (with more or less talent for encouraging the right creativity).
Nice one mate.

Anonymous said...

Here are the figures for management and account handling:
CEO: £230-£300K
MD: £180-£200K
CSD: £120-£150K
GAD: £100-£150K
Board A/c Director: £70-£100K
A/c director: £32-£70K
A/c manager: £23-£32K
A/c exec: £20-£23K

So, there you go: creatives earn more.

Anonymous said...

i was working with recruitment marketing guy in a large organisation a while ago and he was trying to get the board to agree to put everyones salaries on the walls - a brave but ultimately doomed plan...

Anonymous said...

Rubbish. i earn shit loads more than people same level as me due to knowing and playing the current the market.

these brackets are far too generous.
look at this pdf for much more accurate table (and an ego boost by the look of things)

Anonymous said...

okay - here is a working link.

Anonymous said...

Dear anon 3.15,

How do you 'know and play the current the market' to get more money?

And your link doesn't work.

You cast-iron genius, you.

Anonymous said...

Good blog scamp.

Right,how many years experience - would you say - you need for junior, mid, and senior level?

Scamp said...

Good question. The definitions of junior, middleweight and senior aren't clear at all. Probably have to make it a separate post I think.

Anonymous said...

lunarbbdo: "is a large vagina a good thing?"

In my experience, no. But then maybe my John Thomas is as unimpressive as my pay packet.

Mr Orange said...

I believe the only person fit to answer the vagina question is Kate Moss.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to be all cliched here but, actually no sod it, I do. Creatives deserve more cash than account men. We write the ads, position the brand, create iconic work that shifts shed loads of product and all they do is come back from the client with a clip board of comments. Most of which they could have answered in a nano-second had they a spine.

Rant over.

Anonymous said...

The thing that really gets on my tits is the pay for really junior teams and placements. My partner and I used to look after placements at one of the big London agencies. A year ago they were getting £150 odd pre-tax which is, frankly, a fucking disgrace.

I don't buy the bollocks of them not knowing what they're doing and therefore not being a worthwhile commodity. The vast majority of them are graduates, lots of them have done post grad courses like Watford and the length of the whole placement process means that when they get hired they've already had (generally) between one and three years experience of the industry. That means they're often in their mid-twenties when they get their first job (as opposed to account management grads who are usually fresh out of college and haven't got a bloody clue) and still they start on a few grand less than account managers.

Now, this isn't an anti account-man rant, but I think it's time all juniors got paid a little more starting-wise.

It certainly wouldn't cripple an agency's wage budget or make a dent in the profit margins for teams to start on £25k each rather than £18k. £18k's less than a nurse/teacher and when you consider the amount of money juniors generate (they make be shovelling the agency's shit, but a lot of the ads they make are profitable turds) for agencies that's completely unfair.

Paying a bit more would result in far more motivated people who don't begrudge their employers. And the "we all started out on less than that" comment from Creative Directors simply doesn't wash. That was 15 years ago you penis, get in the real world.

kate moss said...

I call my vagina the battery farm.

Because it measures 5000 cubic metres.

It stinks.

And it's full of cocks.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree anon 8.14

A lot of good junior teams have to do a good few years on placements before getting the a break, many give up as its so fucking hard, but the ones who have the patience and talent to keep at it and get hired deserve better.

In my agency all the young suits are grads, they spend a year photocopying then think their shit don’t stink, not that money is a problem for them anyway as mummy and daddy are minted.

I know this is not the case everywhere but from what I’ve seen junior creatives tend to work a bloody lot harder than junior account men, therefore should be paid more.

Anonymous said...

to the people moaning about placement wages and years trying to break into the industry.

yes i agree luck always plays a part. but have you ever stopped to question that its because you're not good enough compared to other student teams?

there is a course from last year where 90% of the teams got hired within 3 months of leaving. some even before leaving.

yes theres luck. but i think most young teams (as we see when students bring in their books) have a self inflated idea of how good they are. you're not. (unless you're that 1% that is actually good, but because you're humble won't admit it).

Anonymous said...

Placement teams: you could get pissed off comparing yourself to a/c grads, and you're absolutely right that those pricks start off on more for doing nowt. But that's because the agencies have to attract grads who would otherwise go to the City.

And photocopying and making coffee is a pretty shitty way of spending the start of your career.
As a placement/junior you get to write scripts, go on shoots, recordings etc. and have sex with all the pretty ladies and handsome gentlemen in the agency.

And you don't have to it. If it's so much of a fuck, give it up and do something else.

Signed: a CD who started on ten grand in the mid nineties (and no, that wasn't a lot of money back then).

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Anon 10.28: If that is the case with Account people, then surely that points to flaws in your agency's recruitment process and criteria.

When I went for Account jobs, almost everyone else was a Cambridge, Oxford or Edinburgh graduate... that might start to explain it.

Anonymous said...

Why would an Oxbridge or Edinburgh grad want to work as an account handler?

You've graduated from one of the most prestigious educational establishments on Earth and you're going to jump through hoops to become a bag-carrying messenger boy/girl who has to lick arse for a living.

I'd rather open an umbrella up my jap's eye than become one of those sorry pieces of shit.

Anonymous said...

I'd start on ten grand now. Seriously. Undervaluing myself? Yes. But that's the situation every potential junior has to put themselves in now I reckon.

I just want the bloody job. As long as I can pay my mortgage, I'll live on agency biscuits or something.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

PPE: Absolutely. I went for graduate jobs that paid less than what I am on now (by several grand) AND which would involve living in London!

But with so much competition most grads have to do so to get on the ladder.

That's worth noting as well in Account Management, there are so so many people who want these jobs that its no wonder agencies don't need to increase salaries.

Anonymous said...

Kate Moss. Do you mean reconstructed vagina? 'Cos we all know you're a fella.

Anonymous said...

if it makes the younguns feel any better - i started in 88 at a big agency on 9k - and no that didn't equate to something higher now: it was truly shit then too. i lived in a squat. got the boot 4 years later in the first nut-crunching recession on 14k and spent a year on the dole and doing placements.

in those days agencies didn't pay placement teams, period. you were luck to get your bus fare. (swerves away from imminent monty python sketch)

saatchis (who were a bunch of notorious tossers then) used to have a battery farm of unpaid placement teams producing a lot of hard work - and didn't hire any of them (or hardly any).

and the industry has shrunk since then so it can hardly be much easier.

bottom line it is effin hard for creatives to get into good agencies. The creative component of our relatively small industry is TINY - so it's almost completely oa buyer's market. scamp's previous thread about the lengths you have to go to get a pay rise just shows how chaotic and fundamentally unmeritocratic it is.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous 7.00am

Fair play to those teams who got hired straight out of college but from my experience you are far better doing the rounds on placement to get an idea of how hard it should be to get a job and when you get one you appreciate it a lot more.

Teams who walk straight into a job usually end up with a massive ego and struggle in the long run.

As for money, well if that’s your main incentive as a junior team you are in the wrong job, it should be about doing something you really love doing and the plus side is you get paid.

Do some good work and money will not be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Re anon 12.42

I agree teams should appreciate their job, but I don't understand this need to struggle. If you’re good a good agency hires you, if your good you want to work hard to do well. I think the best teams apply their own pressure to succeed.

I got hired straight from College 13 years ago by a Creative Director new to the Job; I was given a three-month trial period on a decent salary. We got the job after three months and kept it until we left after 10 years. I think knowing that it was a trial period made us work hard to get hired. Being paid properly made us respect the agency and the Creative Director. The agency at the time did have the best teams in town, we had too much for respect for the senior teams to start thinking we were the dogs bollocks.

It worked for me as a Junior and now as a Creative Director I apply the same to the young teams that I hire, pay them properly so they can afford to eat and get to work and live somewhere decent, treat them the way you would like to be treated and good work follows. Infact when we started our Agency we topped up our first Placement teams pay packet out of our own pocket because we felt we couldn’t expect them to work long hours for us, if they couldn’t afford to pay the rent or buy a travel card.

Unknown said...

Inneresting stuff.

Does anybody have any STATS for those of us working in the ddddigital world?

Now that one would be the real comparison of controversy.

Anonymous said...

as a foreigner who once lived in london, i have to say the whole creative placement thing is craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy.

it's blatant exploitation. and nothing else. pay up or f**k off. let's face it, they're all public companies now for the love of god. money they have. it's only advertising.

and the job simply isn't nearly as lucrative or glamourous as it once was.

do digital agencies have similarly Victorian hiring practices?

Anonymous said...

Wow! As an suit from outside of London (and yes, there are decent agencies outside London) - I am amazed at all the ego coming from you guys! I thought all the stories about London agencies and creative egos were exaggerated!!!

Why on earth do you hate acc management so much? We're the guys that have to deal with all the sh*t from the clients, interpret briefs, come up with strategic thinking and a solution to their brief, write a creative brief and define the proposition. Now I would love to be a creative, but I don't have the creative talent that some of you guys obviously do (although it wouldn't hurt to be humble)- but I came into this industry attracted by its creativity. Just because you're not labelled a creative, doesn't mean you can't think creatively.

As "suits" we have to make sure we build a bl**dy strong relationship with clients, otherwise there wouldn't be any work for you to do!! Yes its hard work, especially starting out, but its really rewarding to see a campaign go live and be successful. Why can't we pull this divide down and start working together to create amazing campaigns that the whole agency feels part of - not just the creatives.

I'm a girl by the way so don't be mean.

Anonymous said...

What I forgot to say in my previous post is that we deal with all the sh*t so we leave you guys the headspace to come up with the goods. I know there are some spinless yes men out there, but in order to be a great acc man - you have to challenge. It gets a better brief, better opportunities and ultmately better creative work. My point was that we are equally as important.

Anonymous said...

So that was a rant that had bugger all to do with Salary.

Thanks. We'll all take it into account and be much nicer in the future.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.53:

You didn't have to say you were a girl.

The overuse of exclamation marks said it for you.

And you don't have to asterisk swear words either; we're all grown ups here. Except the bloke who likes to pretend to be Kate Moss. He's appears to be about 14.

Anonymous said...

Account men don’t have their name attached to work so why do they give a flying fuck if its not as good as it could be.
In my experience all account men (and asterisk using account women) just want to keep the client happy.

Scamp, next poll… are all account men (& women) c*$ts?

Anonymous said...

To be followed by the next Friday poll:

Clients - poorly educated and lacking in the skills necessary to evaluate ads, or just a bit thick?

Anonymous said...

in response to dc 12:42

" If you’re good a good agency hires you, if your good you want to work hard to do well. I think the best teams apply their own pressure to succeed."

i totally agree. you get into this industry knowing theres a queue of literally hundreds waiting to replace you.

if youre good. work hard. learn. you get hired.

and not after spending years going round and round on placements..

if you have spent years going round. get better fast. arent you listening? learn faster. pretend for a minute you dont have the safety net of money i expect many of oyu may have. your wasting your life. chop chop.

Charles Edward Frith said...

I always recall Pipes at HHCL saying that younger creatives should be paid more and moan less.

Wise words for the industry I thought.

Anonymous said...

When it says 'creative team' doe sthat mean per person, or per creative team (ie; split in half)?

How realistic do you think this chart is at top teir agencies?

Anonymous said...

I tapped up the talent business people just now, here are the figures for account management.

Doubtless you will be shocked how much money the bag carriers make.

I've got planning too, and will post later.

Anonymous said...

I tapped up The Talent Business just now and have got hold of the account management pay scales, which are on the link below:

Doubtless you will be shocked how much money the bag carriers make...

Planning to come later