The latest Credit Union Executive Society's compensation survey shows that marketing executives and business development executives earn somewhat less than their peers.
Their median salaries were $98,167 and $88,031, respectively, compared to $110,366 for chief lending officers and $104,050 for human resources executives, although the credit union's size and geographical location can play a significant role in determining paychecks.
But there's some good news for marketers. Their salaries have been rising, and as businesses try to lure recession-skittish customers, their skills seem to be in increasing demand.
"I will say we have seen an increase in credit unions looking for those types of individuals," said Mike Juratovac, CEO at Rourke & Associates in San Francisco. "In marketing it's relationship-driven. In the business development piece most of them are kind of going back to the roots of the organization and building and re-building relationships."
He sees credit unions that are looking to hire marketers seeking people with strong e-commerce skills, a real driving force for the past 12 or 15 months. And credit union experience isn't necessarily an advantage.
"Reality is, when we look at a marketing professional, it's a very transferable skill set," Juratovac said. "Quite often clients are open to, if not specifically requesting, people from other industries.
"We did a VP of marketing search for a credit union that had a technology focus in their membership base. They really wanted marketing people out of the technology industry. Marketing is one of those areas where people like to keep it fresh, they want to be innovative, and they want to be on the forefront of creativity."
As for compensation, more robust incentives have been built into the package.
"You might not see a higher base compensation compared to their peers, but there's often an incentive that will drive up that overall compensation," Juratovac said.
He noted the current year is still uncertain while as most organizations remain in a recovery mode. But there is a return to profitability, and compensation freezes may be lifted.
That seems to be supported by a marketing trends survey from the Marketing Executives Networking Group and Anderson Analytics, which found that compared to last year, marketers are more likely to increase their marketing budget, boost spending on innovation and R&D and add staff and less likely to reduce staff.
What are employers looking for in those just entering the job market? Judging from the latest research brief from the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, the learning curve is sky-high.
"Today, the abilities employers expect new college graduates to demonstrate the first day on the job have been ratcheted up to an 'uber level,'" said the report. "With only one or two exceptions, no new skills are being demanded. Rather the same core essential skills are being elevated to a higher level of competency across nearly every sector of the economy."
"A young professional's ability to build and sustain a professional network has emerged as one of the most critical skills a new graduate must possess for success in their first assignments. Employers expect new hires to be star performers before they even start their first job."
On the flip side of the hiring picture, graduates have some expectations of their own. A report from the School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor shows what graduates looking for when they consider potential employers. Positioning for the future tops the list, followed by intellectual challenge and lifestyle. Financial gain ranks fifth.
The average starting salary for a graduate with a BA in marketing is $34,436 at firms with 9 to 100 employees and $36,921 at financial firms, according to CERI.