How much do advertising managers make?

Careers in advertising are fast-paced and dynamic. There’s no average day, and so no specific pay range. What you can make depends largely on the size and success of the agency or firm that employs you—there’s not a lot of money if you don’t have a lot of clients. Other factors include your skill, education, and experience levels.

General wages and salaries

According to 2009 Labour Force survey, the median hourly wage for sales, marketing, and advertising managers was $33.00. (That means that half of those employed in this occupation earned less than this amount and half earned more.) This is significantly higher than the median hourly wage for all occupations, which was $21.00. The same survey reported that the average hourly wage for occupations in the same category was $35.70.

Yearly salary ranges depend on agency size and success. New advertising managers can start anywhere between $25,000 and $35,000, while those with more than three years of experience can make up to $60,000. At supervisor or director levels, advertising managers can make close to—and sometimes more than—$100,000.

Things to consider:

  • If you’re just breaking into the advertising world, you can expect fairly low pay and very long hours. “It’s a ‘pay your dues’ industry,” says Kerry McKibbin, an Advertising Account Director in Toronto. “The pay tends to change over time, but the hours often don’t.”
  • Large agencies with well-established and successful clients pay better than small agencies with newer and/or less wealthy clients.
  • The majority of advertising manager jobs are found in large Canadian cities. As is the case with most occupations, the bigger the city, the better the pay.
  • Many agencies offer bonuses and commissions for signing on new clients, as well as keeping existing ones—which can add up to a lot of extra cash.
Published on January 9, 2012
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