Gloss Creative Recruitment Salary Survey Results 2015

stairs up rising challenge


Welcome to our latest and much anticipated annual salary survey!

We bring you our latest salary findings from candidates that have passed our comprehensive filtering process to make it onto the Gloss ‘cream of the crop’ database for 2015! Focusing on salaries from across the Digital / Creative / Marketing and PR industries, it gives us great pleasure to present to you an analysis and summary on what these figures represent to our local industry.


We’ve had two record breaking years thanks to the upturn in the economy allowing many of our Yorkshire based clients to expand. Growth has been far reaching across many sectors; however, this climatic acceleration is bringing about a few new challenges too.

A broad spectrum of our clients, both agency and inhouse, have been recruiting for permanent or short term contracts due to expansion. As a result, demand for essential specialised talent has been high. This rise in requirements has seen the pendulum shift in momentum from companies to candidates, creating a candidate short market (especially around the middleweight level) and a corresponding effect on salaries.


For what seems like an awful long time (around 8 years) the market is finally moving with rising wages.  Stagflation has been the message in the past few years but we can definitely confirm that salaries are undoubtedly rising (see below).

The biggest trend within design has been the major skills shortages beginning to emerge within certain pockets of the sector.  This lack of available talent is now becoming apparent for those that specialise within creative and print.

Graphic design salaries are gradually beginning to come in line with digital design salaries which, is unprecedented!  Traditional Graphic designers can now rejoice in the lifting of the salary ceiling that has been held in place for nearly a decade.


There has been continued demand for digital experts both in-house and agency, with shortages still evident across a range of different technical skill sets. Salaries, however, have not moved a great deal…yet!  Watch this space, as we predict this could change very soon!

The digital sector is being stretched thin with lack of supply (which used to be limited to more back end, coding positions) now becoming apparent within front end developer and digital web design roles. Interestingly, salaries haven’t moved up a great deal on the technical positions but more within the creative / designer roles.

There has been a scarcity of strong, commercially viable and cutting edge portfolios (mostly from MW level upwards) and we do believe that it won’t be long before salaries will jump in this sector soon if the trend continues.

These present conditions indicate that it is still possible to incentivise web candidates away from their current situation with a much anticipated pay rise – something that might be worth doing sooner before market forces raise them organically in the very near future!

Marketing, PR, Social and Copywriting

The leading trend observed in this division has been the swing from agency candidates switching to inhouse roles. With digital, social media and analytics taking centre stage, digital marketing is now the predominant engine of growth for many companies and many of our larger clients in particular, have been looking to bring these functions in house.

Shortages are now prevalent (again from the middleweight range upwards) in account handlers, PR and copywriting candidates. Another observation has been the rise in marketing agency salaries which, are now starting to catch up with equivalent inhouse positions…another first within a decade.

Finally, many senior permanent (and some less experienced) creative candidates have turned to a life of freelance in the pursuit of a modern work /life balance!  Those that do, stipulate the chance to earn more money and to be able to enjoy a more flexible working lifestyle as the main reason.   It’s another good sign of market sentiment as candidates take this route out of choice and not out of necessity as we have seen in previous years.

Please take a look below at some of our findings and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like us to find out anything specific to do with salaries in your particular market.  We are always grateful to receive any feedback or comments on our efforts/thoughts/reflections and hope this latest survey is of some use to you.


Key trends:

  1. Rise in salaries for traditional / print / branding sector but not so in digital.
  2. Agency salaries have caught up with inhouse salaries.
  3. Low availability of candidates especially around the middleweight level.


Job Min (£K) Max (£K) Ave (£K) Comments
Junior Artworker (1 to 3 years) 15 20 17.22 Definite rise
MW Artworker (3 to 5 years) 18 24 20.4 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Senior Artworker (5 years+) 20 30 23.3 Definite rise
Studio Manager 25 35 31.3 Definite rise
Junior Designers Agency (1 to 3 years) 14 20 17.7 Definite rise
Junior Designers Inhouse (1 to 3 years) 15 22 17.6 No change
MW Designers Agency (3 to 5 years) 18 27 22 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
MW Designers Inhouse (3 to 5 years) 19 28 23.5 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Senior Designers Agency (5 years+) 24 35 28.4 Definite rise
Senior Designers Inhouse (5 years+) 24 30 26.2 Slight rise
Design Manager 28 35 30.1 No change
Creative Director 35 45 37.5 Candidate shortage, no change
Job Min (£K) Max (£K) Ave (£K) Comments
Marketing (Agency)    
Account Execs 16 24 18.44 Candidate shortage, No change
Account Managers 24 32 29 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Account Directors 40 50 45 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Marketing (Inhouse)    
Exec 15 24 19.5 No change
Manager 26 40 31.2 Slight rise
Director 45 64 54.3 Definite rise
Web Design        
Junior Designer (1 to 3 years) 15 24 18.5 Candidate shortage, no change
MW Designer (3 to 5 years) 20 28 23.2 Candidate shortage, no change
Senior Designer (5 years+) 25 32 30 Candidate shortage, no change
Digital Marketing (Agency)  
Exec 18 26 22.2 Candidate shortage, no change
Manager 25 40 29.7 Slight rise
Director 50 60+ 52.5 Definite rise
Digital Marketing (Inhouse)  
Exec 16 25 20.7 Candidate shortage, no change
Manager 24 40 31.8 Candidate shortage, no change
Director 40 65+ 50 Candidate shortage, no change
Content 15 25 20 No change
PPC 16 45 24 Candidate shortage, no change
SEO 15 40 25.3 Candidate shortage, no change
PR Roles        
PR Executive 15 25 20.3 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
PR Manager 21 35 29.1 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Comms 18 35 25.3 No change
Junior Copywriter 18 23 19.5 Definite rise
MW Copywriter 20 27 23.1 Definite rise
Senior Copywriter 24 38 30.6 Definite rise


The data summarised in this survey has been collated from candidates that have registered with our agency within the last year and are based on actual submitted salaries rather than the upper limit of client job specs. Please note that Gloss Creative Recruitment operates on Permanent and contract positions both Inhouse and agency only within the Yorkshire area.

For more information please visit or call us on 0870 321 9788


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