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Advertising account executive: Salary and conditions

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  • The range of typical starting salaries falls between £19,000 and £24,000.
  • More experienced executives and account managers can earn around £30,000 to £40,000, while account directors can earn up to £55,000. Senior account directors can earn up to £65,000.
  • Salaries at senior level, such as business director or board director, range from £80,000 to £100,000+.
  • Salaries at all levels vary based on the size and geographical location of the agency. For example, executives in and around London generally earn more than those employed in regional locations.
  • Some agencies may offer their staff additional benefits, such as profit-sharing schemes, free gym membership, car allowance or medical insurance.
  • Working hours are typically from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. However, there is often the expectation to start the day early or stay late in order to meet deadlines. Weekend work is rare.
  • Although hours may be irregular, paid overtime is rare, but some agencies will offer time in lieu.
  • Self-employment and freelance work is possible, although this is more common for those who are experienced. With experience and a good reputation, it is possible to establish your own agency, but initial capital and contacts are crucial.
  • Career breaks or part-time work are not typical in the industry but opportunities are increasing. Job-sharing and part-time work are sometimes possible and some of the larger agencies offer paid sabbaticals after a qualifying period of service.
  • In the UK, most of the top agencies are based in London with many also having regional offices. Most large cities have an advertising scene, in particular Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.
  • Large advertising agencies are increasingly international in scope. Many are part of a larger media and communications group, whose parent company may be based in another European country or in the USA.
  • The working environment is generally informal, although smart dress is often the norm. The role can involve socialising with clients.
  • The work may be stressful and highly pressurised, for example, when meeting tight deadlines, juggling various clients and projects, or generating ideas when pitching for a new client's business. However, being an advertising account executive can also be very exciting and rewarding.
  • Redundancies can be common in the advertising industry, for example, if there is an economic downturn or the business is undergoing a difficult period. Advertising agencies are continually trying to win new business.
  • Although advertising account executives are generally office-based, travel within the working day is frequent as they will be expected to visit clients and may attend TV shoots, radio recordings or castings. Absence from home overnight and overseas work or travel is occasionally required.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by AGCAS editors
October 2015

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