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Job Satisfaction & Efficiency

Watch The Changing Role of the Higher Ed CMO webinar, which dives into jobs satisfaction and efficiency data, and looks to the future of the role of the lead marketer in higher ed.

Growth over the last decade. Eyes toward the future.

In 2022, SimpsonScarborough’s Higher Ed Professional Development and Marcom Salary Study identified a significant trend: over half of the senior marketing leaders were considering new job opportunities, with a third willing to leave higher education. The latest findings from our 2023-2024 Higher Ed CMO Study reveal both challenges and opportunities: while the industry faces high turnover, three-quarters of chief marketing officers now report satisfaction in their positions. Amidst the challenges this industry has experienced and continues to see within senior leadership, there is real reason for optimism that has us looking to the CMO of the future.

Higher ed lead marketers have experienced undeniable growth over the last decade.

Since 2014, the role of the lead marketer has advanced in many of the foundational, yet critical areas that drive bureaucratic power and influence on campus.


of lead marketers hold a VP title

In 2014, only 25% of lead marketers held a VP title. More specifically, only 8% of lead marketers had the title of Chief Marketing Officer. This year, that percentage is 18%.


of lead marketers report to the president

In 2014, only 49% of lead marketers reported directly to their president.


of lead marketers sit on the cabinet

In 2014, only 57% of lead marketers sat on their cabinet.

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Reporting lines and leadership inclusion has a direct impact on CMO job satisfaction.

Overall, nearly three quarters (72%) of all CMOs reported good or excellent job satisfaction in our 2023-2024 report. However, there were significant differences in reported satisfaction related to organizational structure.

Available resources, staffing, and salaries also have a strong impact on job satisfaction.

Satisfied CMOs were:


more likely to report an increase in the overall marketing budget in the past year.


more likely to report an increase in the size of their team in the last year.


earned $35,000 more than dissatisfied CMOs, on average.

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Higher ed CMOs are happiest when provided with the opportunity and resources to elevate their impact beyond storytelling and become cross-campus, collaborative, and strategic leaders.

Examining the efficacy of a CMO through a job satisfaction lens makes one thing clear: institutions that view marketing communications through a static or outdated lens will be unsuccessful in recruiting or retaining top leadership talent in coming years. Strategic marketing leaders are not only vital to the continued professional development of CMOs, but the institutions they serve.

Download the full report

Download the job satisfaction & efficiency report to see more data, learn why this matters, and read ideas for investing in marketing at your institution.

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