The AMA Salary Minimum Guidelines 2021-22

The AMA Salary Minimum Guidelines 2021-22


As part of its role representing arts marketing and audience development expertise in the arts and heritage sector, the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) has produced a set of salary baselines for these roles. This supports the need for salary transparency: to enable fair and equal pay, and to address pay gaps across gender, ethnic backgrounds and other protected characteristics.

An old fashioned alarm clock next to three piles of coins. Thepiles are of different sizes going from small,medium to big. Green shoots are springing from each pile of coins.


Purpose of the Guidelines

How the guidelines were compiled

Salaries at a glance

Roles v salary levels

Salary transparency

AMA minimum salary recommendations

What you can do right now



The sector has been under enormous pressure in the pandemic, and ever more is asked of marketing and audience development functions. We have seen roles merged together in an attempt to cut costs,  we've seen roles advertised offering entry-level salaries yet demanding considerable experience. We've seen recruiters complaining about a lack of applicants. We've seen audience-focused and marketing talent lost from our sector.

In our first Member Panel survey, we explored what the challenges were facing our members. Pay and conditions were highlighted as a key issue. This led to our salary survey to help develop a clearer picture of what's happening in this sector.

Based on the findings from this survey, we can see there is a lack of consistency between roles, responsibilities and pay. We're taking this work further to develop guidelines for job descriptions, to help match realistic and fair salaries to roles and responsibilities. We have looked across the findings to come up with some guidelines which set a baseline for what is a realistic minimum for roles in our sector. These are not recommended salary levels, but a minimum acceptable start point. We'll keep these under review and revisit as needed.

We also found evidence of pay gaps in the sector based on ethnic background, gender and disability. One of the ways in which we can start to address these issues is through salary transparency.  

The Arts Marketing Association (AMA) wants to support the sector to move forward, to be more inclusive, to be more successful in reaching audiences and more diverse in its workforce. Transparency over salaries helps stop and prevent pay gaps and inequitable salaries, and makes for a fairer, more level playing field.

We are also championing paying all staff the real Living Wage for the real cost of living. As our sector starts to rebuild, we encourage all employers that can afford to do so to ensure your staff earn a wage that meets the cost of living, not just the government minimum.  The cost of recruiting new staff due to churn outweighs the cost of paying a fair wage which supports staff retention. 

In sharing these baselines and calling for a shift to more transparent pay, we hope this will move us closer to a fairer and more diverse arts and heritage sector.


Cath Hume. White woman, wearing galles.Long hair and a patterned top.

Cath Hume, CEO, Arts Marketing Association

Purpose of the guidelines

These guidelines set out a recommended minimum starting point for salaries in marketing and related audience-focussed roles in the arts and heritage sector, as of November 2021.

They are based on research into pay levels in 2020-2021 of AMA members across a variety of roles and levels of seniority and across arts and heritage organisations of different sizes, types and UK locations.

The salary baselines should be viewed as the minimum acceptable starting point for marketing and audience focussed staff in the sector, above which all organisations should seek to pay their staff regardless of size, type or location. Our next step in taking this work further is to develop guidelines for job descriptions, to help match realistic and fair salaries to roles and responsibilities.


How the guidelines were compiled

AMA carried out an online demographic survey between July 16 and August 9, 2021 of its membership, which totalled 2772 members at that time. 329 members took part in the survey.

Salaries at a glance

  • The average annual salary for an arts sector role in the UK is £27,200, compared to the average annual salary across all UK sectors and roles of £31,500.
  • Across all sectors, the average salary for a marketing manager in the UK is £34,110. The median* average salary for managers in this survey was £25,000-£30-000.
  • Based on a 40 hour week, the government national living wage is £18,532.80 for anyone age 23 or above (increases to £19,760 from April 2022). The real Living Wage (based on UK living costs) is £20,592 and £22,984 in London (from 15th November 2021. Employers should implement the rise as soon as possible and within 6 months. All employees should receive the new rate by 15th May 2022.). Excluding self-employed respondents, 7% of respondents report earning less than £17,999 per annum (this includes unpaid interns). 
  • Salary brackets can vary wildly for roles as the range shows below: director roles are reporting ranging from £25,000-£29,999 up to £65,000-£69,999. 
  • Small organisations tend to pay less than large organisations.

*See glossary at end for explanation of terms marked with asterisk.

Roles vs salary level

We asked people to tell us their annual salary, or pro rata salary if part-time. 

When looking across the range of salaries, the discrepancies in salaries versus role levels can be clearly seen. At the bottom salary band, we have Managers paid the same as Assistants. Officer roles feature in all pay bands from £0-£14,999 through to the £50,000+ band. This highlights the need for pay to fairly reflect what is being asked of roles.

Small organisations tend to be more likely to have senior job titles on lower salaries. Small organisations are classified as those with 10 or fewer employees.

The overall distribution of salaries by responses is as follows:

Salary range by role

To explore this further and help us define minimum baselines, we broke the data down by job title. This shows that while the upper bands tend to show some sort of progression, the lower bands across many roles can be quite similar across assistant, co-ordinator, manager and officer. This reflects a potential issue with salaries offered and how people are valued.

There is also a "London effect", with London weighting in evidence across some roles. Looking at London salaries, 31% of respondents earn less than £30,000 compared to 57% across the rest of the UK outside of London.

Looking at the distribution*, the boundaries of the most common pay bands seem to broadly align with career level, however the distribution as compared across roles does not – (note where Head and CEO had ties for most common bands additional information was sought to break tie.)

The distribution, median* and mode* averages have been taken into account when calculating the baseline salaries.

The government National Living Wage for anyone working a 40 hour week aged over 23 is £18,532.80. This will increase to £19,760 from April 2022. However, this does not reflect the real cost of living or the higher cost of living in London and does not apply to anyone under 23. The real Living Wage, which is independently calculated based on what people need to live, is £9.90 per hour and £11.05 in London (November 15th, 2021). For a 40 hour week this equates to £20,592 and £22,984 in London.

Most respondents to our survey who work full time report being contracted to between 36-40 hours per week. Therefore we recommend that no-one should be paid less than £9.90 per hour and £11.05 in London. This includes interns, who should be salaried for their work. For roles requiring experience, we would encourage that experience to be recognised by a salary appropriate to what is being expected of the role.

We have constructed the following minimums based on exploring the median and mode salaries at each level, and taking into consideration the proportions of people paid less than the mode average in each category.

E.g. for the CEO level roles, we recognise that 66% of small organisations' CEOs are paid less than the median or mode, and therefore we have adjusted this band accordingly. We want these salary baselines to be realistic, but would like to see change in the sector that supports fair and transparent salaries.

Where possible we encourage organisations to pay a salary in the mode salary range or above. We believe that salaries offered for roles at this level should not fall below the recommended baseline.

These are intended as minimum starting salaries, regardless of location or size of organisation. We would encourage organisations to pay upwards of this, valuing their staff fairly in relation to what is expected of them, and for organisations based in London to allow an extra 20% in line with London weighting.

Note: All recommendations are based on a 40 hour week. 

Based on a 40 hour week Median Salary Mode Salary % paid less than Mode Baseline recommended - UK outside London Baseline recommended - with London weighting
Assistant £18,000-£20,999 £18,000-£20,999 27% Upwards of  £20,592 Upwards of £22,984
Coordinator £21,000-£22,999 £21,000-£22,999 14% Upwards of £21,000 Upwards of £25,200
Officer £21,000-£22,999 £25,000-£29,999 50% Upwards of £23,000 Upwards of £27,600
Manager £25,000-£29,999 £30,000-£34,999 47% Upwards of £25,000 Upwards of £30,000
Head £40,000-£44,999 £30,000-£34,999 35% Upwards of £35,000 Upwards of £42,000
Director £40,000-£44,999 £50,000-£54,999 63% Upwards of £40,000 Upwards of £48,000
CEO £65,000-£69,999 £65,000-£69,000 44% Upwards of £50,000 Upwards of £60,000

Salary transparency

As well as advocating for baselines to be used as a minimum starting point when advertising or planning roles, AMA also wants to see more salary transparency. Organisations should declare salaries for roles both internally as well as in external recruitment advertising.

A lack of salary transparency can help perpetuate inequalities. Underpaid roles continue to be underpaid and unchallenged, and there is evidence that discriminatory practice can come into play, consciously or otherwise, when salary negotiations take place. #ShowTheSalary details more reasons why salary transparency is important for equality.

In the course of analysing AMA's member demographics and salary information, a number of pay gaps have emerged.

Across all respondents, 53% earn less than £30,000 per year. However:

  • 64% of those who identify as having a background other than White (including dual heritage) earn less than £30,000 compared to 50% of people who identify as White.
  • 55% of people who identify as women (including trans women) earn less than £30,000 compared to 41% of those who identify as men (including trans men).
  • 56% of those who identify as LGBTQIA+ earn less than £30,000 compared  to 53% of people who identify as heterosexual.
  • 58% of people who identify as having a disability earn less than £30,000 compared to 52% of those who do not.

One way to address these gaps are by publishing your salary bandings so that everyone can see what the levels and remunerations are.

We also strongly encourage all organisations advertising job roles to clearly state what the salary is, and what is expected of the role for this pay level.

To further support fair and equal pay in the sector, AMA have reviewed sector job descriptions with a view to providing guidelines for realistic expectations and salaries. Go to: The AMA Guide to Marketing Job Descriptions and Skills

AMA Minimum Salary Recommendations

Based on a 40 hour week Salary outside London Salary with London weighting 
Assistant Upwards of £20,592 Upwards of £22,984
Coordinator Upwards of £21,000 Upwards of £25,200
Officer Upwards of £23,000 Upwards of £27,600
Manager  Upwards of £25,000 Upwards of £30,000
Head Upwards of £35,000 Upwards of £42,000
Director Upwards of £40,000 Upwards of £48,000
CEO Upwards of £50,000 Upwards of £60,000

What you can do right now

As an individual

  1. Be open about your pay with colleagues
  2. Check your salary against our recommended minimums
  3. Ask your organisation to make their pay policies and salary bands public
  4. If you're advertising a job vacancy - make sure you include the salary
  5. If you are applying for roles, and see a role with no salary stated or where the salary is significantly lower than these baselines, share a link to this page to highlight to the employer the need for transparent sector salaries

As a sector leader (CEO)

  1. Become a Living Wage accredited employer.
  2. Assess levels of pay across your organisations. Are they in line with the AMA guidelines at each role level?
  3. Make sure job adverts include the salary being offered. Be transparent. Commit to the principles of #ShowTheSalary.
  4. Don't offer unpaid internships.
  5. Ensure the seniority of the role is equivalent to  demands of the role. The AMA will be publishing Job Description Guidelines to support this action.
  6. Talk to your Trustees about the importance of audience-focussed roles within your organisation.
  7. Look at training and development opportunities for your team.
  8. Remove unnecessary qualifications from your job descriptions.
  9. Conduct a pay audit across your organisation. Look specifically at gender, race and disability. Publish the findings.
  10. Read Best Practice Recruitment Guide for Creative Leaders (Creative and Cultural Skills).


Distribution: how respondents answers fall across the range of responses

Median: the value or response at the midpoint of the distribution

Mode: the value or response that appears most frequently

Browse by smart tags
Access to employment Salaries
Resource type: Research | Published: 2021