Mad Men is a hit television show which depicts the American Advertising industry during the 1960’s.  It is clear that a lot has changed since the real Mad Men revolutionized advertising in the United States.  Delve deeper into the advertising industry of the 1960’s and learn how the industry has changed in the last half-century.

(click to enlarge)
Note: Data is based on their starting careers and nationwide averages – data

MAD MEN Business Infographic

Via. Carrington College

11 thoughts on “Mad Men Career Comparison – Then and Now

  1. Thom U

    Peggy Olson (not ‘Olsen) is a copy writer, not a secretary. How did you get this wrong? Do you people even watch Mad Men? Your infographic is bad, and you should feel bad.

  2. ThatGuy

    While these might be _some_ salaries form those years, the characters on the show are depicted to be making very different figures.

    Don is making around $340k based on a glimpse at his paycheck which we get in season 2.
    Peggy is now making about $130k based on the offer that she received.
    This is while Pete is making about $30k when he started.

    So yea.. this graphic doesn’t reflect the show, even if it reflects the era.

  3. Amanda

    I liked the idea of this infographic, but factually it’s problematic. It seems like it would make more sense to show what the Mad Men characters would make in today’s market, and in that case, these numbers are way, way off. Don Draper/Creative Directors would make into the low to mid six figures in NYC today. It’s also not typically a job you can swing with 1-5 years of experience.

    Peggy Olsen isn’t a secretary in the show, she’s a copywriter. If you wanted to spotlight a secretary, why not choose any of the other prominent secretary characters? Account Exec as well in this industry and at the level of Pete Campbell would make more than $45K in today’s market. I know you are probably using a national median salary but because you’re talking about major players in NYC that feels weird.

    I think if you talked to anyone in advertising today about the biggest changes to the industry, they would say digital and social media, death of mass media, the economic collapse and none of them would ever think to talk about smoking or lack of smoking in the office. I mean, the ad industry has been absolutely roiled by changes but these points just feel really muddy.

    It’s a cool idea but the lack of credibility about the modern advertising industry would keep me from sharing it.

  4. Ad Guy

    These numbers are so far off they aren’t even funny. A creative machine and partner like Don would probably make 10x what you have.

    Peggy hasn’t been a secretary since midway through season 1.

    Pete made that in the 1960’s. He’d make much more now. That perhaps is his starting salary.

  5. carrington

    That is a great point.

    When we created the graphic it wasn’t to show how much the individuals on the show would be making today but the average salary for that career. We used information from to get the best data for the nation wide.

    We are planning on updating Peggy’s information since many people have expressed concerns with the career we placed her in.

    Thank you for your input.

  6. Bob

    I work in a major New York ad agency. The salaries listed are WAY too low. In fact, I don’t think someone could even live in the city on the $34K “secretary” (?) paycheck in the infographic.

    Get your point about government “averages,” but the Mad Men mystique isn’t about a job in Nebraska…it’s the whole New York, MADison Avenue thing. The salaries you’ve listed just aren’t realistic for a major market.

    Nice try, but PLEASE revise this and join the rest of us in the 21st century!

    • carrington

      That is a great point Bob. We will look into finding a reliable source for data you suggested. From our experience the data is usually more broad and it is difficult to find a reliable source that shows income based on the area the person works.

  7. The Financial Marketer

    I think all the confusion including the ad age article that lead me to this infographic is that you have Joan played by christina hendricks alongside a character that looks like peggy.

    Peggy is played by elisabeth Moss and is a copy writer (for the bulk of the show)

    Joan is the secretary/office admin.

    Switch the 2nd characters hair color too red and add a new one for peggy.

  8. American Freightways

    Infographic is the finest way this date to make a clear understanding to the user and stay on the website. Liked the way the information is being shared.

  9. Yes..!!! for sure Madman is proving the best show and sharing good information on different carrier opportunities. I think advertising and marketing has a potential in local market. this infographic has some valued information.

  10. Tawfeeq Zain

    She started as a secretary before Don gave her the chance to do copy writing.

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