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Last year, when we performed our annual checkup of the fortunes of the industry's workforce, we uncovered the unthinkable: Average industry salaries had shrunk for the first time ever (at least, we can assume it was the first time ever, given that the survey was first undertaken in the mid-eighties.) It seemed that the recession, which had felt very real in a number of less-tangible ways, was now leaving a measurable mark on pay checks. The storm had well and truly hit and, for many, it was a case of holding onto their seats.
Fast forward to 2010, and the 24th annual MM&M Career & Salary Survey reports a relatively rosier picture: Average salaries across the board are up 5.4% to $129,200, bouncing back to 2008 levels, and surpassed in recent history only by 2007's bumper average of $133,700 (Fig. 1). And while no one is suggesting it's time to put away the umbrellas just yet, these ballpark figures suggest an obvious a crack in the clouds. Hope is that, before too long, the covers can come off and play in the job market will once again resume. Demographic details of our sample of 620 respondents can be found a little later in this article. For now, let's delve a little deeper into the numbers…
How much are they making?
Unsurprisingly, some types of companies performed rather better than others (Fig. 2). Manufacturers (i.e. pharmaceutical and biotech companies) remain at the top of the tree with a healthy 11.2% increase in average salaries to $156,026. Agencies have at least stopped last year's bleeding, posting a 1.6% increase to $122,962 on the back of a 5.8% drop in 2009.
The media/publishing sector showed some interesting movement: The Digital Only category saw average salaries skyrocketing by 40.4% to $126,118, whereas Print and Digital saw a decrease of 9.2% to $85,253 and Print Only, with admittedly very few respondents, recorded a miserable 15.2% plunge to $76,000. Basically, anything with “print” did not fare too well, it seems. The Service Supplier category also took a major hit this year, falling 10.8% to $119,156.
The battle of the sexes took another twist this year. Last year, women had closed the gap a little, with men taking an 8% hit down to $135, 043 while women remained flat at $108,000. However, this year the gender gap has widened again: Men's average salaries are up 8.4% to $146,445, while women's are also up by a more modest 3.7% to $112,053 (Fig. 3). This means that women's average salaries are now just 76.5% of their male counterparts.
As for sectors, Biotechnology remained the best paid on average at $140,802, despite taking a modest hit of 1.6% (Fig. 4). Involvement in both Rx and OTC Pharmaceuticals also remained among the most lucrative sectors to be in with average salaries of $133,286 and $124,554, respectively. Most of the products, devices and diagnostics categories also showed reasonable gains to around the $120,000 mark, while the increasing importance of managed markets is perhaps reflected in a 7.3% increase in the Managed Care sector.
The size of the company you work plays a role in the size of your pay check, it seems, as the old adage “biggest is best” continues to hold true. In fact, this year, average salaries by company size line up perfectly in order, with the smallest companies (less than $5 million in US revenues) recording the lowest salaries ($108,305) and the largest companies (more than $100 million in US revenues) posting the highest ($153,136).
What else is in it for them?
When it comes to job satisfaction, the news is a little better this year: 29.6 % report they are “thoroughly satisfied” with their job vs. 25.9% in 2009; 53.1% are “generally satisfied” (51.0% in 2009); 9.9% say their job is “OK, but mundane” (14.0% in 2009); and just 7.4% report that they are “not satisfied” with their position (9.1% in 2009).
It seems that the recession has been something of a leveler, at least in terms of how much people think they are making compared to their peers. This year, 12% of respondents think they are “paid more than their peers” with 42.1% assuming that they “paid the same.” Of course, that means that 45.8% still believe they are “paid less than their peers,” down slightly from 48.4% last year.
Overall, respondents rate their advancement prospects slightly better than in 2009: 55.2% say their prospects are good, vs. 50.8% in 2009, while 19.0% rate their advancement opportunities to be poor, down from 20.8% in 2009.
More interesting still is that while the number of Men that think their advancement prospects are “excellent or good” has risen by 6.4% to 54.9%, for Women it is even higher, up 10.8% to 55.6%. For both Men and Women, the proportion that rates their advancement opportunities as “poor” is down almost 9% to around 19%.
But most interesting of all is when you break this out by Type of Employer (Fig. 6). Manufacturers saw a modest gain in those who perceive their advancement prospects to be “excellent or good” of 4.4% to 57.4%. However, their appears to be a surge in optimism for agencies, where this figure has catapulted by 15,8% to 67.3%. Interestingly, the proportion employed by Manufacturers who see their prospects as “poor” is up a whopping 25.2%—probably the result of having witnessed so much recession-driven downsizing on the pharma side.
So what factors do respondents consider to be the most (and least) important to their jobs? Salary is an interesting one and the majority of employees ranked this number one (58%), however one might have expected this figure to be even greater and it is down from 61% in 2009. Put another way, 42% of respondents rank something other than salary as the factor they consider most important to their job.
So what else is there? Well, in second place was Vacation Time (10% vs. 14% in 2009), then Company Vehicle (8% vs.7% in 2009), Work From Home (8%, unchanged), Retirement Plan (6% vs. 4% in 2009), Casual Dress (4% vs. 3% in 2009), Charity/Pro Bono Work (4% vs. 3% in 2009), Environmental Friendliness (3% vs. 2% in 2009) and lastly Stock Options (3% vs. 6% last year). It might be a step too far to deduce that employees have given up on salary, vacation and stock options and are more concerned with charity, the environment and retiring, but you get the picture. Interestingly, 10% ranked salary as the least important factor, as they did last year.
Now we know what factors people think are important to their jobs. So how do they rate their current employers on these and various other attributes? Based on an average rankings score, companies seem to score best overall on Salary, Benefits and Work Environment, and worst on Training, as they did last year. The only real notable change is an improvement in Environmental Friendliness and a marginal increase in perceived Job Security.
However, if we drill down a little, it's apparent that few companies score an “excellent” grade on any attribute. The attribute with the most “excellent” grades is Work Environment/Culture at 23%, but even this is down from 28% in 2009. Then comes Benefits (21%, down from 23%), Loyalty to Employees (21%, down from 23%), Job Security (16%, down from 17%), Salary (15%, down from 19%), Advancement Opportunities (12%, no change), Environmental Friendliness (11%, up from 7%) and Training (8%, down from 9%).
One big concern to the industry is surely that 30% of all respondents rated their employers as “poor” for Training, while one in five gave the same low grade to Advancement Opportunities.
What are they going to do next?
Another presumably worrying statistic for employers is that a lot of their employees say they intend to look for a new job in the next 12 months. This is usually the case, although this year the figure is down slightly (36.3% vs. 33.7%), which is either a sign of less disgruntlement or an acknowledgement that now is maybe not a good time to move on.
Again, the picture gets more interesting when you break it out by Type of Company (Fig. 7). Once more the apparent feel-good factor of working at an Agency is tangible, as it was with perceived advancement prospects. In fact, just 31.0% of Agency employees say they will try to leave in the next 12 months vs. 36.6% one year ago.
For those intending to leave their current positions, what are the major motivations for making a move? The answers are Salary (35.9%, up from 29.2% in 2009), Better Work Environment/Culture (20.9%, up from 16.1%) and Better Advancement Prospects (20.1%, up from 13.1%).
And how do these job-seekers intend to find their next position? Respondents were asked to rank five methods from 1 to 5 (1 being the most likely and 5 being the least likely). The average ranking for each showed the number one method to be the employee's own Industry Relationships and Contacts, followed by Recruitment Firms.
It's interesting to break out only the #1 ranks: this does not change the order of likelihood of each job-hunting method but it does highlight a couple of trends from 2009 to the present. While both Industry Relationships and Contacts (43%) and Post a Resume (10%) recorded about the same number of #1 ranks as last year, there were some notable changes: More people intend to use Recruitments Firms as their #1 method (35% vs. 29% in 2009); fewer intend to use Job Advertisements (11% vs. 15% in 2009); and fewer intend to Contact Prospective Companies (10% vs. 13% in 2009).
Who are the respondents and how did we find them?
The MM&M Career & Salary Survey 2010 was undertaken in July and August in the as an online self-completion questionnaire. The URL was emailed to several mailing lists totalling approximately 30,000 executives employed in healthcare marketing and related fields, encompassing pharma/biotech companies, agencies, media companies and service suppliers/vendors, and including subscribers to MM&M.
Of the 620 respondents: 310 are male and 310 female; 190 are employed by pharma or biotech companies, 248 by agencies, 92 by media/publishing companies and 50 by service suppliers/vendors; the average age is 42.5 years, with a high of 85 and a low of 22; the average time spent in the industry is 14 years with a high of 52 and a low of 0.5; and the average time spent in current position is 4.6 years with a high of 31 and a low of 0.1.
How can you get more of this data?
On the pages that follow you will find data sets for a limited selection of job titles. However, you can view data sets for hundreds of additional insights on salaries, benefits, motivations, job satisfaction, attitudes, and employment trends in the healthcare marketing sector. To access this and much more, via immediate download, purchase the Career & Salary Survey Premium Edition for $295.