Social media salaries are on the up

Money Shirt by Rob Lee

As a recruitment company we're lucky enough to get great visibility on what's going on in the digital sector as a whole - where the demand for talent is greatest, which roles attract the most interest, and more besides.

We thought that a lot of the information we see would be useful to a wider audience, which is why we recently published our inaugural Digital Salary Survey. Using our data from the second half of 2009, and the first half of 2010, it shows some interesting trends in the sector - some of which I thought I would share here on Chinwag (thanks for the invite guys!)

1. Salaries in Social Media are growing, fast

In case you hadn’t noticed, social media is a massive area of interest right now - for job-seekers and employers alike.  Our data shows that average salaries in social media are growing at twice the rate of the industry average - by 7.3% since H2 2009, versus a sector average of 3.4%.

Why the massive improvement?

Well, first of all it's important to point out that, at all levels of seniority, social media roles are still underpaid versus the digital industry average.  This is probably down to the massive candidate demand for roles in this area, but also the changing perception employers have of social media.  Until recently it was considered a niche interest.  Now it’s a mainstream, high-reach marketing channel.  Employers are starting to value talent accordingly.

Another possible factor is that social media is still considered a new and evolving channel.  Employers are looking for talented individuals who can help them to understand and exploit the mysterious potential locked within it.  As the buzz surrounding social media grows, so does the perceived value of this understanding.

2.  Creative Services salaries are booming

In the grip of the economic crisis, brands held back budgets from more creative projects and instead invested in the secure, ROI-focused digital channels like paid-search, SEO, display advertising and affiliates.  Over the last couple of years creative agencies have been hiring less as this effect has taken hold.

The good news is that impact on salaries has been minimal - right now, salaries at midweight and senior levels in creative agencies are well above industry averages.  Our research found that a senior creative can expect to be paid on average £9,204 more than other digital industry talent at similar levels. 


Almost certainly it’s because brands, and creative agencies, still recognise the importance of the quality of their creative ideas.  As digital becomes ever more prominent in the marketing mix, creative agencies are having to invest to find the very best creative talent. These people are rare, so they come at a cost.

3.  Brands are willing to pay for in-house talent

Digital used to be a niche area. 

This is no longer the case, thankfully.  Digital is now a key marketing channel which requires expertise, original thought and innovation – not just within agencies, but in-house too.  Our findings suggest that brands recognise this change – we found that midweight jobseekers could expect to earn, on average, £2,700 more on the client side than in the rest of the industry.  Senior candidates can expect an even bigger improvement.

Our salary survey threw up more interesting findings besides those I’ve shared with you today.  We aim now to produce one every 6 months – as we do so, no doubt we’ll discover more about the changes taking place in digital right now.  If you’d like to read a full copy, drop me a line.

Photo (cc) Rob Lee.