Men earn up to 18% more than their female counterparts in senior positions in the marketing sector, according to a newly released survey from the recruitment firm Alternatives Group and the Marketing Institute of Ireland.

The average salary for a male Director in the marketing sector is €138,000, while for his female counterpart the average comes in at €117,000.

However, at an entry level position male practitioners earn about 2% less than their female colleagues.

Salaries are on the rise in the sector with over half of respondents getting pay increases in the last year, with the average increase around 5%.

According to the study, the highest salaries for senior employees are to be found in the telecoms and IT branches of marketing, with a Head of Marketing in Telecoms earning around €152,000, while a Commercial Director in the IT and Technology sector earns an average of €150,000.

More than seven out of ten senior marketing staff members are securing between 10% and 30% of their salaries as a bonus, while a similar number feel "secure or very secure" in their roles – up from 65% in 2014.

The research suggests customer sentiment in the marketplace is predominantly better than last year, at 68%, however, this has fallen from 73% two years ago.

Commenting on the results, Group Managing Director of the Alternatives Group Charley Stoney said: "While confidence has returned to the industry, Brexit and its implications cast a long shadow for future economic prospects and evidence of a talent deficit in new niche areas such as Data and Innovation is emerging."

Over 1,000 marketing professionals were polled for the survey.