Trade sales staff earned less than their consumer cousins in 2012, but their salaries are rising faster

Although the trend is less pronounced than in editorial compensation, sales job titles in consumer media continue to be rewarded more generously than the same job titles in the business-to-business media space. That’s based on a comparison of data in the 2011 and 2012 ABM / MPA Compensation Survey, conducted annually by Towers Watson. However, as seen in the editorial salary trends, consumer sales compensation is falling while trade salaries are rising.

Of the nine job titles analyzed for both years in trade and consumer positions, five trade titles saw average compensation increase and four decline. On the consumer side, two titles made more money in 2012 compared to 2011, while seven reported total compensation declined on average. Consider the following infographic:


Each dot on this graph is the average compensation for a particular position. Disclosure constraints require that the job title associated with each dot remain unrevealed. However, the distribution of consumer positions falls farther to the right than the trade positions – confirming that average salaries are higher in consumer media.

The top-to-bottom alignment of positions, however, shows that only two of nine consumer sales positions saw an average increase in salary over the 2011-2012 period, while five of nine trade editorial positions increased on average over the same time period. Moreover, for eight of the nine positions, the b-to-b total compensation in each position either increased more (as year-over-year percentage growth) or decreased less than the corresponding consumer position.

The titles surveyed for this graphic are: Ad Services Coordinator, Advertising Sales Representative, Associate Publisher/Advertising Sales Director, Branch/Regional Advertising Sales Manager, Financial Analyst, Production Manager, Publisher, Sales Assistant and Senior Advertising Sales Representative. Towers Watson does not release data on certain under-reported job titles for which a significantly large sample size was not available. One data point was estimated by ABM.

The 2012 ABM / MPA Compensation Survey report was issued by Towers Watson, a global consulting firm with special expertise in human resources. Including data from more than 50 companies – including 21 ABM members – the survey reveals the latest compensation trends for media professionals. Only participating members are eligible to receive the full report. However, ABM members can still participate in the survey and receive a copy of the final results (although it will not include their data). To do so, contact Towers Watson compensation analyst Kevin Kraus at 914-289-3389 or e-mail

By Michael Moran Alterio


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