Skip navigation

Marketing, creative, and digital talent salaries rise 7.5% as e-commerce spending booms

Aquent’s 2022 Salary Guide finds glaring gender and race/ethnicity wage disparities.

Boston, MA — January 10, 2022– Aquent, the workforce solutions company, has released its 2022 Salary Guide for marketing, creative, and digital talent. Thanks to the accelerated growth of e-commerce spending, salaries for these sectors are trending upward, realizing an average increase of 7.5% across the board from 2020 to 2021. The data also reveals some disturbing trends, namely the growing wage disparities among women and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and their male and white counterparts, respectively.    

“This is a one-of-a-kind report for the staffing industry because we examine a number of salary metrics—geography, year over year, gender, and ethnicity—to give us a full picture of our opportunities and the challenges before us that need to be addressed,” said Aquent CEO John H. Chuang. “Compared to their male and white counterparts, the wage disparities among women and BIPOC talent are particularly acute. Companies are going to have to close this pay equity gap in order to attract and retain top and diverse talent needed to make their organizations more inclusive and successful, now and into the future.”

The Guide found that the greatest salary increases over the last year in marketing and creative included: 

  • Social Media Manager (17%)
  • Digital Marketing Specialist (12%)
  • Presentation Designer (11%)
  • Copywriter (8%)
  • Digital Marketing Manager (7%)

These positions are in high demand as a result of the pandemic-fueled push to e-commerce and companies' desire to make the online experience for customers seamless. With online sales up 32% in the U.S. last year alone, it's projected that 80% of B2B sales will happen online by 2025.

“Our data shows that talent are demanding (and getting) higher pay and flexibility in this new world of pandemic-driven, remote work opportunities,” said Mark Brim, President of Vitamin T, a division of Aquent. Vitamin T's 2021 Talent Insights report released in September found that as a condition of changing jobs, 42% of talent want a 16%–30% salary increase. 

The Gender Pay Gap is Real 

When it comes to women in the workforce, the Guide found that rising tides aren't raising all boats, and that's a particular problem given that close to 1.8 million women dropped out of the workforce during COVID. Regarding the gender pay gap, the Guide found:

  • Overall, men were paid 16% more than women in the same job.
  • Men in (UX) design roles earned 14% more on average than their female colleagues, with female UI Designers underpaid by 20%. 
  • Women earned 9% less on average in creative roles for the same work as men.
  • Men who are Presentation Designers earned 14% more than women. For Copywriters, that figure was 11%. 
  • Men earned less than women in only two roles, Digital Marketing Specialist (-11%) and Digital Marketing Manager (-7.66%).  
The Race/Ethnicity Pay Gap is Real

While workers value being at a company that celebrates diversity and inclusion, companies are falling short when it comes to embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The problem is particularly pronounced in the marketing industry, as the Salary Guide reveals. 

  • BIPOC talent earned $5,000 less than the $90,000 average salary for their white counterparts.
  • The pay gap is particularly pronounced in UX and Digital roles, especially UX Research (-14%), Social Media Manager (-17%), and UX Designer (-5%).

“Many companies say they value diversity, but the reality is they are not adequately equipped to achieve it,” said Aquent's Chief Marketing Officer Simon Lusty. “A lack of demographic diversity data and the exclusion of various talent communities, such as neurodiversity, are among the major challenges companies face in trying to achieve their objectives.” 

To help businesses improve workplace diversity, Aquent recently introduced  Diversity+, one of the staffing industry's first fully customizable offerings to provide businesses with diversity recruiting expertise, customized goal-setting, access to diverse talent communities, and robust reporting and insights.

“Businesses have a lot of work to do to create an environment that is as diverse as the world we live in today,” said Erin Bloom, Aquent's Head of Culture and Community. “Companies need to invest in their greatest asset—their employees—and that means ensuring the work experience values the identity of each team member and providing the benefits that employees want, like the flexibility to work remotely. Companies that fail in this endeavor will lose talent and fall behind.” 

Aquent also studied salary trends based on geography, contrasting the same roles in mid-sized and major cities across the U.S. and Canada. The Guide found predictable salary trends, signaling that in this new era of “work-from-anywhere,” organizations can hire a more diverse talent pool more cost-effectively. For example, a Senior UX Researcher making $172,000 in San Francisco would earn $135,000 in San Diego and $125,000 in Phoenix.

Aquent's 2022 Salary Guide is available here

Latest Articles.