Reality check on pay

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It's salary survey season again at MM&M and given the economic turbulence that has characterized the past year, we didn't really know what to expect when we crunched the numbers.

Last year we reported for the first time a drop in average salary (down 3.7%). This year, unsurprisingly, this figure fell further, by 4.8% to $122,600. By delving a little deeper into the overall numbers, a few interesting trends start to emerge. Some of these might even be described as encouraging, others less so.

First the positive spin:
  • While there are few winners, at least the gender gap is closing. Men took a big hit, with average salary dropping 8% to $135,000. Women's salary remained flat at $108,000.
  • Respondents rated their employers a little better than last year for most characteristics, including salary, training and loyalty. Perhaps they are displaying a new-found appreciation of their jobs. Or maybe employers are doing a better job at looking after them.
  • The proportion of respondents intending to seek new jobs this year remained at around 36%. While job security concerns are clearly prompting some to search for new positions, this is likely balanced out by the reluctance from others to move at this time.
And the not-so-good stuff:
  • 6% fewer respondents received bonuses in the past year and, for those that did, the average payment dropped from $32,000 to $22,000.
  • 48% feel they are paid less than their peers, up from 42% last year. Conversely, those who believe they are paid more actually rose a percentage point to 12.7%.
  • A greater proportion of respondents perceived their advancement prospects to be “poor” this year—21% vs. 16% in 2008.
  • Of those planning to seek a new position this year, 9% say they are motivated by job security, while almost 8% intend to get out of the industry altogether.
  • There is no drop in the proportion covered by medical, dental and retirement benefits, however fewer reported signing bonuses, company cars and stock options.
For more data, trends, insights and commentary, including breakouts by individual job titles, see the Career & Salary Survey feature. As part of our special careers coverage, you can also read about some exciting initiatives agencies have adopted to nurture and retain talent in “Finders Keepers.” Plus six senior pharma execs reveal how they got into the industry and rose through the ranks in “6 Stories To The Top.”

Perks of the job
I've lost count of the number of times that somebody—having discovered that I work for a pharma magazine—will ask me if companies send me free drugs. A ridiculous suggestion, of course. Even the old notion that trade journalists live off lavish lunches and seasonal swag is no longer applicable. But being part of a large and diverse global publisher does have its perks—namely, access to the other titles in the portfolio. I can often be spotted in the lobby thumbing though the latest issues of PRWeek and DMNews (OK… and probably Stuff and the Manchester United magazine too). But the real prize is when the new Pharmaceutical Marketers Directory lands on my desk.

It's invaluable to my team and I. It provides us with titles and contact information for thousands of key execs at pharma companies, agencies, publishers and suppliers. The new PMD 2009/10 is out now.

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