The AMA Salary Minimum Guidelines 2024

The AMA Salary Minimum Guidelines 2024

By Arts Marketing Association (AMA)


The Arts Marketing Association (AMA) Salary Minimum Guidelines 2024 provide updated salary recommendations for marketing and communications roles in the UK arts and heritage sector. Based on recent survey data, these guidelines reflect the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and post-pandemic recovery. The document emphasises the importance of fair pay, salary transparency, and addressing pay gaps. It is the first phase of a series of resources giving practical advice for individuals and sector leaders that support a more inclusive, diverse, and resilient arts and heritage workforce.


We launched our first minimum salary guidelines in 2022. Since then, our sector has faced unprecedented turbulence. Recovery from the pandemic has been disrupted by a cost-of-living crisis, global conflicts, political instability, and high inflation. Cultural organisations are grappling with significant challenges, striving to make their business models sustainable in this volatile environment.

It's against this backdrop that we release these guidelines advocating for fair pay for marketers. The real cost of living wage has increased by 21% from 2022 to 2024. We acknowledge the immense pressure on cultural organisations as funding opportunities decrease, earned income slowly recovers, and costs spiral. Yet, we cannot ignore that 51% of our marketers struggle to pay their bills, and 38% feel underpaid.

Marketing, communications, and audience development professionals are being asked to do more than ever before. We want to support marketers to thrive, and fair compensation is crucial. We champion paying all staff the Real Living Wage, recognising that the cost of staff turnover often outweighs the cost of fair wages.

A diverse workforce is essential for our organisations to remain relevant to broader audiences. Salary transparency helps prevent pay gaps and creates a fairer playing field, supporting this diversity.

We understand the difficult balancing act organisations face with their budgets. However, marketers are an essential part of the solution to our current challenges. Their expertise is crucial in navigating these turbulent times and building resilience for the future.

We encourage organisations to view these guidelines as a goal to work towards incrementally. Even small steps towards meeting these guidelines can make a significant difference. Consider creative solutions like enhanced benefits packages, flexible working arrangements, or professional development opportunities where immediate salary increases aren't feasible.

By investing in our marketers, we invest in the future of our organisations and our sector. Let's work together, step by step, to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all in our cultural landscape.

Cath Hume head and shouldersCath Hume head and shouldersCath Hume

Cath Hume, CEO, Arts Marketing Association

Purpose of the guidelines

These guidelines set out a recommended minimum starting point for salaries in marketing and communications roles in the arts and heritage sector, as of June 2024. They are based on recent research into pay levels for various roles and seniority across different types and sizes of arts and heritage organisations throughout the UK. This is the first phase of our findings and further analysis and insight will follow.

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.

These baselines are where we should be as a sector, but we are fully aware they are currently a big jump for organisations. We would like organisations to view the guidelines as part of a strategy where even small steps towards these salary benchmarks will help retain talent and maintain morale.

How the guidelines were compiled

Arts Marketing Association (AMA) carried out the Arts & Heritage Marketing Salary Survey between 18 January 2024 and 12 February 2024. It gathered responses from 940 marketing, communications, and audience development professionals.

The average salary information has been cross-examined with salary research from across wider UK marketing and communications roles and the UK's Real Living Wage to produce salary guidelines that are the minimum that arts and heritage marketing professionals should be paid.

Salaries at a glance

  • The average annual salary for an arts sector role in the UK is £32,000, compared to the average annual salary across all UK sectors and roles of £35,464.
  • Across all sectors, the average salary for a marketing manager in the UK is £37,500. The median* average salary for managers in this survey was £30,000 - £34,999, an increase from a median of £25,000 - £30,000 in our previous survey.
  • Based on a 40 hour week, the UK government’s national living wage is £23,795.20 for anyone age 21 or above (from April 2024).
  • The real Living Wage (based on UK living costs) is £24,960 and £27,352 in London (Announced on 24 October 2023 with an implementation date of May 1st 2024).

Roles v salary level

We asked people to tell us their annual salary, or pro rata salary if part-time. The overall distribution of salaries by responses is as follows:

This bar chart displays the number of responses for various salary ranges comparing small and non-small organisations.

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 continue to show some sort of progression, the lower bands across many roles can be quite similar across assistant, co-ordinator,  and officer. This reflects a potential issue with salaries offered and how people are valued.

Chart titled 'Salary Ranges by Role' showing salary ranges for various positions. Roles are listed from lowest to highest salary range: 1. Assistant: £9,999 to £39,999 2. Co-ordinator: £9,999 to £39,999 3. Executive: £17,999 to £49,999 4. Officer: £9,999 to £39,999 5. Manager: £9,999 to £64,999 6. Head: £17,999 to £89,999 7. Director: £24,999 to £100,000 8. CEO: £24,999 to £100,000 The chart uses a horizontal scale from 0 to 100,000, with blue dots representing lower salary bounds and green dots representing upper bounds. Roles are listed vertically, with salary ranges displayed horizontally using dotted lines between lower and upper bounds.

Here's the alt text for the chart: "Line graph titled 'Salary Progression by Role' showing salary ranges across different job roles. The x-axis lists roles from left to right: Assistant, Co-ordinator, Executive, Officer, Manager, Head, Director, and CEO. The y-axis shows salary values from 0 to 100,000. Two lines are plotted: 1. 'To' line (dark blue): Represents the upper salary limit, starting around 40,000 for Assistant and Co-ordinator, rising to about 50,000 for Executive, dipping slightly for Officer, then climbing steadily to reach 100,000 for Director and CEO. 2. 'From' line (light blue): Represents the lower salary limit, starting around 10,000 for Assistant and Co-ordinator, rising to about 18,000 for Executive, dipping slightly for Officer, then gradually increasing to about 25,000 for Director and CEO. The gap between the two lines widens significantly from Manager to CEO, indicating a broader salary range for higher positions."

Trends for different roles

Assistant: The salary range for Assistant roles has increased with the lower point remaining static at £10,000 but the highest climbing from £29,999 to £39,999.

Executive: Executive roles feature in all pay bands from £15,000 - £17,999 through to the £60,000 - £64,999 band, indicating a wide range of responsibilities and experience levels within this category.

Managers: The median average salary for managers has increased to £30,000 - £34,999, up from £25,000 - £30,000 in the previous survey.

Directors: Director roles show a wide range, from £23,000 - £24,999 up to more than £100,000, reflecting the diversity of organisations in the sector.

CEOs: Limited data was available for CEO salaries, with no responses from CEOs in London.

Geographic trends

  • Outside of London, salaries are more on par with London salaries than expected, particularly for Coordinator, Officer, and Manager roles.
  • However, there is still  a "London effect", with London weighting in evidence across many roles.

Salary breakdown by role

Horizontal bar chart titled 'Assistant' showing salary ranges and the number of assistants in UK Outside London and London. Salary ranges from lowest to highest: £1 - £9,999: 0 UK Outside London, 1 London £10,000 - £14,999: 3 UK Outside London, 0 London £15,000 - £17,999: 1 UK Outside London, 1 London £18,000 - £20,999: 10 UK Outside London, 1 London £21,000 - £22,999: 19 UK Outside London, 1 London £23,000 - £24,999: 11 UK Outside London, 3 London £25,000 - £29,999: 8 UK Outside London, 5 London £30,000 - £34,999: 4 UK Outside London, 3 London £35,000 - £39,999: 1 UK Outside London, 0 London The chart uses dark blue bars for UK Outside London and light blue bars for London. The longest bar is for the £21,000 - £22,999 range, with 19 assistants outside London.

Horizontal bar chart titled 'Coordinator' showing salary ranges and the number of coordinators in UK Outside London and London. Salary ranges from lowest to highest: £1 - £9,999: 1 UK Outside London, 0 London £10,000 - £14,999: 2 UK Outside London, 0 London £15,000 - £17,999: 2 UK Outside London, 1 London £18,000 - £20,999: 2 UK Outside London, 0 London £21,000 - £22,999: 3 UK Outside London, 0 London £23,000 - £24,999: 5 UK Outside London, 0 London £25,000 - £29,999: 15 UK Outside London, 6 London £30,000 - £34,999: 1 UK Outside London, 5 London £35,000 - £39,999: 2 UK Outside London, 1 London The chart uses dark blue bars for UK Outside London and light blue bars for London. The longest bar is for the £25,000 - £29,999 range, with 15 coordinators outside London and 6 in London.

Horizontal bar chart titled 'Executive' showing salary ranges and the number of coordinators in UK Outside London and London.

Horizontal bar chart titled ' Officer' showing salary ranges and the number of officers in UK Outside London and London.

Horizontal bar chart titled 'Manager' showing salary ranges and the number of Mangers in UK Outside London and London.

Horizontal bar chart titled 'Executive' showing salary ranges and the number of executives in UK Outside London and London.

Horizontal bar chart titled 'Executive' showing salary ranges and the number of Heads in UK Outside London and London.

Horizontal bar chart titled 'Director' showing salary ranges and the numbers of directors in UK Outside London and London.

Horizontal bar chart titled 'CEO' showing salary ranges and the number of CEOs in UK Outside London and London.

A bar chart showing salary distribution by role

Current trends and challenges

The return to work post-COVID-19, the shift to remote and hybrid working models, and the cost-of-living crisis have significantly impacted the sector. Many organisations have introduced flexible working arrangements and increased support for staff wellbeing to attract and retain talent. However, the sector still faces challenges with recruitment and retention, particularly for roles requiring digital skills such as content creation and video production.

Gender pay gaps and pay inequality based on socioeconomic background remain issues, with some progress reported in narrowing these gaps. However, there is still a significant number of professionals feeling underpaid and undervalued, contributing to burnout, poor morale and a talent drain from the sector.

Behind the numbers

Over a third of Arts and Heritage Marketers say that they are not paid fairly

We asked arts marketers whether they thought they were paid fairly by their organisations and 37.8% of respondents answered no. With 25.6% answering Unsure or Prefer not to say. Only 36.5% thought they were paid fairly. Out of the 323 respondents who added an extra comment to their answer, it wasn’t surprising that 87% of these answered ‘no’ when asked if they were paid fairly. Only 2.5% of respondents who commented said ‘yes’ and just over 10% were unsure. 
Many of the respondents feel they are underpaid compared to similar roles in other industries outside the cultural sector. There's a sense that their skills and experience would command higher salaries elsewhere: 

"If I was working as a Comms Manager in a different industry I'd be getting paid at least £10k more."

“I feel I am paid as well as they can afford but I know that in a non-arts setting, for my experience and for what I actually deliver, I would be on far more.” - Survey Respondent

In isolation, these responses are unsurprising but there’s additional themes that are causing discontent. 

It’s worth highlighting that over a third of respondents did think they were paid fairly with the more positive responses feeling that pay was fair within their organisation but still acknowledged that “the sector is so far behind other commercial and business sectors” when it comes to pay.

Arts Marketers feel there’s an imbalance between workloads and pay

Many respondents felt that their workload and level of responsibility are not fairly reflected in how they are financially compensated. Lots of references were made to doing the work of multiple people or taking on additional duties without a corresponding pay rise. There’s regular mentions in the comments acknowledging the restraints on organisational funding and tight budgets:

"We don't have the money to pay more, it [my salary] was increased to 31,200 in December 2023 but I do 45+ hours a week.” - Survey Respondent

Though setting this aside, there appears to be a growing frustration and sense of injustice at both pay and working conditions that is leaving many respondents increasingly demoralised:

“I also know that I do far, far more than my job description entails. I love my job, I love the arts but it can feel incredibly unfair that simply because I work in this sector I do more, for less." - Survey Respondent

“I am underpaid and overworked.” - Survey Respondent

"COMPLETELY underpaid and overworked with absolutely zero routes to progression or room for a payrise, no matter how much extra work I put in or for longevity in my role." - Survey Respondent

These trends paint a picture of a sector where many arts marketers feel undervalued financially, despite their dedication and expertise.

Cost of Living concerns growing for Arts Marketers
Over 51% of respondents are finding it difficult or very difficult to pay their bills. This stat makes for tough reading, though these challenges will be seen in many other sectors too. There’s signs of a growing storm where they feel undervalued professionally, underpaid and burnt out. If they are struggling to pay their bills, the strain on their mental health and personal lives aren’t likely to be conducive to productive and successful working lives.

"Low wages and high job expectations negatively impact mental health, leading to stress and burnout." - Survey Respondent

"My job role vague and expansive. It made it really hard to build any confidence in myself, and the low pay with high expectations had massive repercussions on my mental health."

"Because my salary is so low I am reliant on my partner to support our family, I could not be financially independent on this salary due to the cost of accommodation in our area."

Mid-manager salaries have increased

More positively, we did see the median average salary for managers increase since our last survey from £30,000 - £34,999, up from £25,000 - £30,000 in the previous survey. This also correlates with Assistant and Officer roles. It’s worth noting that these roles are ones that are more likely to be recruited for on a more regular basis and they could’ve been driven up slightly purely by salaries being re-evaluated at the recruitment stage.

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 emerged. We continue to stress the importance of rectifying this situation.

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

Our recommendations are intended as minimum starting salaries, regardless of location or size of organisation to take us to where we should be. However we understand that they are a big jump for organisations. We would like organisations to view the guidelines as part of a long-term strategy where even small steps towards these salary benchmarks will help retain talent and maintain morale. We encourage organisations to meet these recommendations or build it into your planning, valuing your 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 Salary outside London Salary with London weighting
Assistant Upwards of £24,960 Upwards of £27,352
Coordinator Upwards of £26,000 Upwards of £31,200
Officer Upwards of £28,000 Upwards of £33,600
Manager Upwards of £30,500 Upwards of £36,600
Head Upwards of £41,000 Upwards of £49,200
Director Upwards of £46,000 Upwards of £55,200
CEO Upwards of £61,000 Upwards of £73,200


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.
  6. Know your worth. Investing in marketing staff gives medium and long-term benefits.

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. Work with your board and stakeholders to prioritise salary adjustments in your budgeting process.
  4. Value your marketing colleagues and recognise that they are part of the solution.
  5. Make sure job adverts include the salary being offered. Be transparent. Commit to the principles of #ShowTheSalary.
  6. Don't offer unpaid internships.
  7. Ensure the seniority of the role is equivalent to  demands of the role. See the AMA's Job Description Guidelines to support this action.
  8. Talk to your Trustees about the importance of audience-focussed roles within your organisation.
  9. Look at training and development opportunities for your team.
  10. Remove unnecessary qualifications from your job descriptions.
  11. Conduct a pay audit across your organisation. Look specifically at gender, race and disability. Publish the findings.
  12. Culturehive hosts a range of relevant resources to support your work including: Best Practice Recruitment Guide for Creative Leaders (Creative and Cultural Skills); Inclusive Recruitment Guide (SOLT/UK Theatre); Rethinking Recruitment (Spektrix); Positive action recruitment roadmap (The British Museum and The Audience Agency).


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Resource type: Research | Published: 2024