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Entry Level Marketing Salary Vs. Reality: What Can Gen Z Expect to Get? (Study)

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Tl;dr: Gen Z expects to get 19% more than what companies are ready to offer.

The Great Resignation is upon us, and in 2022 it’s one of the big concerns for companies. Beyoncé called it; her newly released song “Break My Soul” seems to be the anthem of a whole generation—namely, Gen Z—posting their resignations on social media.

Lots of studies have been made about the reason why people quit. Besides looking for a more fulfilling career, one of the other reasons is unquestionably salaries.

So we wondered: what is the expectation for an entry level marketing salary and how does it compare to the reality of the market?

We surveyed 500 marketing graduate students and newly employed marketers and 100 HR teams in 4 countries to understand if there was a gap between salary expectations and market offer. And it seems like expectations could be a reason behind resignations.

Here’s a quick view of our findings:

  • Gen Z expects to be paid 19% more than what they actually get.
  • Women seem more realistic regarding their salary expectations, expecting to be paid €100 less than men.
  • Germany is the country where marketers get the highest first salaries, followed by Belgium.
  • Belgium and Spain are the countries where the gap between expectations and reality is the highest, with a 38% and 25% difference, respectively. This is followed by Germany, with 10%, and France, with 5%.
  • The average salary a first jobber can expect is above €1750, except in Spain where it’s €1200.
  • There is a difference of 54% between the salaries you can get in Spain (lowest payer) and in Germany (highest payer).

Entry level marketing students get a salary of €1000 less than what they want

We surveyed 4 countries—Germany, Belgium, France, and Spain—in order to find the gap between the expected entry level marketing salary and the actual company offering.

In general, students or new marketers expect to get 19% more than what the market is able to offer them.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality per country

Most companies offer a salary range between €1000 and €1500 for entry marketing students, which is more than a 50% decrease from students’ expectations, who mostly expect a salary of €2000.

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What’s the difference in the entry level marketing salary expectation between women and men? 

In most countries, women expect to earn 5% less than men do. However, results differ from country to country, with Spanish and German women expecting more than men do.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality per gender

Entry level marketing salary: Breakdown by country

Spain: The most hopeful gap for women

In Spain, the average expected salary from students is €1534 and the average salary offered is €1222, making both the lowest among the countries surveyed.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality in Spain

Overall, it is the second highest gap in our survey, in which graduates can expect up to 25% more than what the market can actually offer them.

And yet, surprisingly, it is the country in which women can expect a salary of up to 50% more than men do, all the way to €2141 from €1412, making it the highest gap of all markets in this regard. The majority of the Spanish women in our study came from the region of Andalusia.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality per gender in Spain

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Germany: The highest market offer for graduates

There is reason for marketing graduates in Germany to rejoice: the HR departments there revealed they have the highest entry level marketing salary offer among the rest of the countries surveyed.

Companies are ready to offer an average salary of €1882, just 10% less than students’ expectations of receiving an average of €2071.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality in Germany

Furthermore, alongside Spain, Germany is the other market in which female students can expect to earn a higher income than male students. The latter expects an average of €2000, while the former a 12% higher average salary of €2240.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality per gender in Germany

Most of the responses from the German female students in our survey are derived from the region of Hesse.

France: Students’ expectations are in line with HR

France is the country where students’ expectations are most in agreement with the market offering, with a salary expected to be only 5% higher than the reality.

In France a marketing student expects to earn €1864 when the average market offer is €1777.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality in France

Additionally, the average salary expectation of a male student in France, €1946, is 8.41% higher than that of a female student, which is €1795. Most of the French male students in our survey are based in the regions of Île-de-France and Hauts-de-France.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality per gender in France

Belgium: The widest gap between expectation and reality

By far, Belgian marketing students have the highest salary expectations of all markets in our study, and also face the biggest gap when those expectations are compared to reality.

On average, Belgian students expect to receive an average of €2500, higher even than the general average of all markets combined. The market offering for those students, according to HR departments throughout the country, is €1806.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality in Belgium

Even though it’s only the second highest salary offer in our survey (after Germany), it makes for a 38% gap compared to students’ expectations.

Male Belgian students expect to earn almost 19% more than female Belgian students, placing it alongside France. On average, men expect €2667 and women €2250. The majority of these male students come from Brussels and Flanders.

average entry level marketing salary expectations vs reality per gender in Belgium

The Great Resignation: Lack of time, motivation… and a good salary?

The disparity between what people expect to receive as salary and what they can actually receive seems to be another factor contributing to the Great Resignation phenomenon in the marketing field.

Even students in countries where the expectation mismatch begins to disappear, such as France, are left with the same issue in regard to their gender, as it seems that women expect to receive a lower salary than men.

Especially in countries like Spain and Belgium, where income expectations are not met, marketing students may turn elsewhere to find an economic compensation that suits their needs and desires, and they will spare no efforts in letting the world know—via social media.

Methodology

The study was conducted between April 4th and April 8th, 2022, among 500 marketing graduate students and newly employed marketers, as well as 100 HR teams in 4 countries: Belgium, Germany, Spain, and France. In the study, we asked students about their salary expectation for their first job, and HR departments about the average salary offer for each of their markets. The responses are anonymous.

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