Two thirds of marketing and sales professionals in the UK want to quit their jobs, potentially costing the industry over £6 billion

Author Wendy Gray
May 21, 2024

But employers are finding it harder to justify new hires, with nearly half of professionals reporting that their teams are under-resourced.

London, 21 May 2024: Carter Murray, the specialist global marketing and sales recruitment consultancy, and part of The SR Group, today launches research revealing that 66% of marketing and sales professionals in the UK are considering switching jobs in the next 12 months.

*The predicted cost of replacing an employee starts at 30% of their salary, including expenses such as recruiter fees, interim replacement employees and reduced productivity. This can reach as high as 200% for senior employees. The average salary for marketing and sales professionals is £34,000 and with circa. 900,000 in the UK (according to LinkedIn), the cost of replacing two thirds of this demographic could reach at least £6 billion for the industry.

But hiring managers are hindered by a range of recruitment challenges when it comes to replacing employees or growing their marketing and sales teams – including budget and sign off (cited by 47% of respondents), shortage of (quality) candidates (32%), lack of time and resource for recruitment (26%) and internal recruitment processes (23%).

Carter Murray surveyed marketing and sales professionals across all of the UK’s sectors to evaluate the talent landscape and understand trends in remuneration, drivers to change jobs, and the main challenges experienced by employers and hiring managers in securing and retaining talent. The research is compiled in Carter Murray’s latest UK marketing and sales salary guide along with salary benchmarking information.

Extreme salary expectations are starting to stabilise

While 59% of respondents (across all sectors) did receive some sort of salary increase over the last 12 months, increases weren’t as sharp as the 12 months before. Employers in the UK’s banking and finance space offered some of the highest salary increases to marketing and sales candidates, though this increase has halved compared to the previous 12 months.

The slowdown in salary increases can be put down to two main factors. Firstly, the market: last year due to a range of economic and commercial issues, all sectors saw a significant decrease in the number of roles. Many businesses restructured their teams, including making redundancies. When this happens, the candidates are no longer in a position of strength as there are more people available for fewer jobs, meaning employers aren’t pushed to increase salaries to entice talent to join them.

Secondly, the job market and salary expectations have stabilised since 2021/2022 when many candidates were awarded large salary increases to align with where they should have been after the pandemic.

But the research also reveals that marketing and sales professionals across all sectors are frequently changing jobs to achieve higher salary increases. Nearly two-fifths moved jobs in the last 12 months, with 39% of these candidates achieving salary increases of over 10% compared to just 22% of those who’ve stayed in the same job up to five years.

Companies have been patient to find a specific calibre of candidates, unlike 2022 when quick hiring was a priority. There are some hiring managers who are willing to go over the salary range advertised for the role for the right person, leading to salary increases for those recently changing jobs.

“Our research shows that businesses should use accurate salary benchmarking to ensure they’re offering appropriate and realistic salaries to candidates – and they should be able to adapt their ranges along with the market from year to year if they want to attract the talent they need. We provide accurate and up-to-date salary benchmarking across all specialisms, levels and sectors within our UK salary guide for 2024.”

Wendy Gray, Partner at Carter Murray

Salary remains the key driver for candidates switching jobs, but flexible working is crucial

The research shows that base salary remains the most important primary factor for almost half of candidates (47%) as well as being a vital secondary factor (28%). Especially in the face of market conditions, candidates want their employers to consider rising inflation during salary reviews and job moves. Employers are also increasingly willing to make counter-offers to retain their best talent.

Work-life balance and flexible working remain crucial – chosen by 15% as their primary factor and 21% as their secondary factor. Only 6% of respondents chose location as their primary factor, which isn’t surprising due to the more remote nature of the new working model.

Despite appetite for changing jobs, hiring managers are hindered by budget cuts and talent shortages

40% of respondents reported that they are under-resourced in marketing. Market challenges have made it difficult for employers to justify replacing professionals that leave the business, let alone grow their department. Last year was generally a quieter year for talent acquisition across all sectors, with many businesses hoping to be able to rebuild their teams across 2024.

“Businesses can best overcome these challenges by approaching recruitment agencies when they make the decision to hire – rather than later down the line – as they can provide guidance from the start. Many employers approach recruiters when looking for new candidates, but they’re also best placed to support businesses when retaining their existing talent.

“When looking at cutting costs, it’s typical for employers to try direct hiring through their internal recruitment and talent acquisition teams. But this can end up less successful and more expensive, spending valuable time and money on lengthy hiring processes and administrative recruitment activities.”

Wendy Gray, Partner at Carter Murray


Carter Murray used multiple sources for this research to provide accurate, relevant and up-to-date information. These sources include results of a survey sent to over 10,000 marketing and sales professionals; salary and benefits information about professionals they work with daily; and placements made over the last 12 months.

About Carter Murray

Carter Murray is a global recruitment consultancy dedicated to marketing and sales.

They help companies in every sector to find the marketing, digital, sales, business development, communications and investor relations talent they need to thrive.

Through deep expertise within their markets, they’re consistently able to fulfil even the most complex briefs and match the best specialist to every role.

Carter Murray is part of The SR Group, a fast-growing and hugely successful collection of specialist search and recruitment consultancies covering everything from tax, treasury and senior finance, as well as legal, risk and compliance to marketing, sales, HR and IT.

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