Industry salary survey: female creative directors earn more than male peers, but men earn 40% more overall

Female creative directors in Australia earn more than their male counterparts, a salary survey by recruiter Firebrand has suggested.

The research – which covers jobs in marketing, advertising, creative and digital – also found that that the salaries of art directors, digital marketing managers and account directors in PR agencies tend to be higher among women than men.

The difference is biggest among art directors, where women earn 19% more than her male peers.

However, in every other position except for account executive – where salaries are equal – men earn more; 40% more overall.

On average, the median base salary of a marketing or ad industry professional is $63,000 for women and $88,000 for men.

The disparity between salaries of creative directors can partly be explained by the sample size – only eight women responded to the survey compared to 68 men. Michelle Walsh at Publicis Mojo Melbourne and Leslie Ali at The Jamboree are among the few top female creative directors in Australia.

“There are more men than women in senior roles in Australia, which is partly explained by women leaving the work force around about the age of 30 and – let’s be honest – inherent discrimination in the industry,” said Greg Savage, CEO of Firebrand.

“When women return to the work force, many find they have missed the boat, which partly explains the pay disparity between men and women,” he said.

Around 9,000 people were surveyed via Firebrand’s salary comparison portal. Salaries were entered anonymously, with 4,503 women and 4,273 men taking the survey online.

The story of overall male dominance in the earning stakes is similar in New Zealand – but women earn more than men at account director, marketing manager and web designer level, according to the research.

Salary survey New Zealand

The results for the UK also show male dominance.

However, in Hong Kong women appear to have the upper hand on pay.

But in Malaysia, men are paid more in every sector in the business.



  1. dave
    14 Jun 12
    12:15 pm

  2. I have just heard a Telstra radio commercial that explains “there is three” . For a company that claims to care about the audience/public/community, it would be nice if they cared enough to set an example by using correct grammar.

  3. Hmmmm...
    14 Jun 12
    12:27 pm

  4. Those reported salaries are bullshit.

    There must be a lot of people in 2-person agencies skewing the figures… those in decent agencies are earning a fair bit more than that.

    A CD on a hundred and ten grand? Account directors at 100k? Not in any agency you’ve ever heard of.

  5. JayZ
    14 Jun 12
    1:20 pm

  6. what a crock this report is both in terms of amounts and what women creative directors!!!!!???? All 2 of them???????

  7. Finance Man
    14 Jun 12
    1:41 pm

  8. As a finance man I kind of know the salaries in both big and small agencies. I have to admit these look like a load of crap. Hmmmm… would be right on the money with his comments.

  9. Finance Man
    14 Jun 12
    1:42 pm

  10. Although I will admit the Marketing/Comms et al category and Multimedia category look about right. Rest are just a bit weird.

  11. paul
    14 Jun 12
    2:00 pm

  12. sample size is too small to even be used as a guide when you look at the country breakdowns.

  13. Richard Moss
    14 Jun 12
    2:12 pm

  14. @ Hmmmm…

    I believe you are right. I have long doubted these and similar figures bandied about recently. This is an example of the system or systems used by politicians and others when trying to prove a point not easily confirmed or denied.

    Very handy for pressure groups and quasi political hoddy doddies of whatever persuasion.

  15. The Internetz
    14 Jun 12
    2:28 pm

  16. Those sample sizes are stupidly small. You can’t make generalisations like this on those sorts of figures.

  17. Archie
    14 Jun 12
    2:43 pm

  18. Totally agree with hmmmm

    These salaries are complete bullshit

    Am sick of hr consultants using such hokey “surveys” to obtain free editorial

    The chronic underquoting only damages them in the talent pool’s eyes

  19. anon
    14 Jun 12
    2:52 pm

  20. You mention Leslie Ali and the Jamboree – which was unfortunately disbanded, and she was made redundant.

  21. AdGrunt
    14 Jun 12
    3:55 pm

  22. Is this really on the same page as he McCrindle crappy research story.