COVID-19 has hit the pay packets of millions of workers around the world and that is likely to include chief marketing officers because 84% of them say their overall compensation is linked to business performance improvements in 2020.

But improving business performance in the current climate is “a very unlikely occurrence for most” in the coming year, according to the CMO Council, which has conducted comprehensive global analysis of the salaries, benefits and bonuses of some 325 CMOs at companies of all sizes. It concluded that “take home pay will likely be less due to the severe economic impact of the global pandemic”.

That said, around two-thirds (65%) of CMOs around the world still expect their compensation to increase this year, although the CMO Council warned that “the global economic devastation triggered by the pandemic will moderate this”.

The report, entitled CMO Compensation: Erosion, Stagnation or Elevation? also analysed pay rates for CMOs in 2019. Not surprisingly, those working in bigger organisations tend to get paid more, but the analysis also established that CMOs who report directly to CEOs are likely to earn more than their peers, while the highest paid CMOs are those who have developed strong alliances with CIOs and CFOs.

Interestingly, female marketers eclipsed their male counterparts in 2019 in terms of both average annual base salary and bonus. Female salaries were on average $212,898 and their bonuses $56,229, while male marketers earned an average of $209,525 and bonuses of $53,388.

In terms of pay linked to the size of the organisation, the figures break down as follows:

Size                                  Salary             Bonus

Large (250+staff)           $236,186         $69,313

Medium (50-249 staff) $179,500        $33,390

Small (10-49 staff)        $103,458         $14,885

Micro (1-9 staff)            $175,057         $21,774

Elsewhere, the CMO Council study revealed that top earners (those with more than $500,000 base compensation) focus their activities on restructuring marketing to drive results, improving the yield and accountability of marketing, and building digital capabilities.

Indeed, when it comes to digital, CMO salaries tend to increase as their company’s digital marketing performance improves, and the CMOs earning the highest levels of base compensation are often focused on driving business performance, such as top-line growth and market share.

Sourced from CMO Council; additional content by WARC staff