Marketing Salary Survey: Who is paid what?

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The low crude oil prices combined with subdued consumer sentiment have caused most companies in the GCC take a cautious approach to hiring. And marketing profession is no exception.

So how did it affect the paycheck of marketers in the GCC?


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GMR tries to find out the average salary brackets of marketers and focuses on three levels, namely, chief marketing officer/ regional head, marketing manager/ director, and regional general manager/ regional marketing manager.

According to ‘2018 GCC Salary & Employment Report’ by recruitment agency Hays, hiring in the marketing profession continued at a flat rate in 2017 compared to 2016.

More than half of marketing professionals’ salary remained the same last year, 36% reported an increase, while the salary of 12% decreased, the survey noted.


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How do they stack up?

There is not uniform and standardized salary package for marketers across different verticals and levels. On the contrary, salary differs by the experience level of the professional, the location of the job, the nationality, and several other factors

Kingston Stanley, one of the specialist digital marketing recruitment firms in the UAE and the GCC region notes in its Salary Survey 2018, there are various critical key factors that affect salaries.


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These include years of experience, the closeness of experience to the job description, clients handled, clear career progression in CV, stability (lengthy stay in roles) reputation of the employer, level of written and spoken Arabic, quality of the portfolio, number of award nominations and award wins, technical qualifications. But most importantly how well an individual interviews!

Kingston Stanley estimates the salary of Regional Sales Director in the UAE on average at AED 35,000 to 50,000 per month, that of Senior Sales Manager at AED 18,000 to 26,000 per month, while the salary of Sales Manager on average at AED 16,000 to 20,000.

These salaries are indicative and a number of additional factors need to be considered, Kingston Stanley notes. The figures are based on basic, housing and transport (without additional bonuses or benefits).


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According to Hays, for instance, the average salary of Chief Marketing Officer / VP Marketing was AED 80,000 in the GCC, while that of Head of Marketing / Marketing Director, Regional Marketing Manager, and Marketing Manager stood at AED 45,000, AED 35,000 and AED 25,000 per month, respectively.

Challenges for FMCG

According to ‘Salary Guide UAE 2018’ report by Cooper Fitch, another recruitment consultancy, the FMCG sector would continue to see challenges throughout this year, as the region is still recovering from the multiple economic-political issues.

The consultancy, however, expects salary growth of marketers across all sectors by 5-7% this year.


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As per its estimates, the salary of General Marketing Manager with over 9 years experience in an FMCG company is on average AED 80,000 per month.

For a Regional Sales Manager with the same experience level, the average salary comes at between AED 45000-55,000, while for Sales Manager (with same years of experience) it is AED 45000-55,000.

The salary levels of marketers in the retail sector, however, ate lower than the ones in FMCG, according to Cooper Fitch estimates.

The salary of General Marketing Manager with over 9 years experience in the retail sector is average AED 60,000 per month, while that of Regional Sales Manager, with same 9 years of experience in the retail sector is on average AED 42,000 per month, again lower than the FMCG sector.


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Similarly, the salary of area sales manager in the retail sector on average is AED 27,000 per month, according to Cooper Fitch survey.

Is salary in luxury sector any different?

Another headhunter, Charterhouse, estimates the market sentiment in the UAE has rebounded, however, there are still factors which are dictating certain restraints to job volume whilst candidate supply rates have continued to be high.

In its ‘Salary Guides – 2018’ across various sectors, the recruitment agency presents the market averages, at any given time, across its client coverage and functional areas of expertise.

For instance, in the luxury sector on the Sales side, the average monthly salary of a Brand Manager is AED 32,500, while that Head of Retail Operations (Sales – Luxury) is AED 51,000.

This is much lower than the salary levels of these two professionals on the Sales – Premium /High Street side. Here the salary of Head of Retail Operations is just AED 38,500 per month, while that of Brand Manager in AED 26,500.


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In demand

English and Arabic speaking candidates with both regional and industry experience continue to be the most sought-after, says the report by Hays.

Product Marketing Manager’s and Corporate Comms Managers are the most in-demand job titles as businesses look to optimize sales opportunities for their product offerings, as well as build their brand image and exposure to the market.

Going forward, recruitment agencies expect the advent of VAT in UAE and KSA this year to have a positive effect on the overall economy that will finally impact the salary levels of marketers.