Client directors the best paid digital practitioners, says nma salary survey

Digital practitioners at director level on client-side are the highest paid in the digital industry, commanding average salaries of £100-110,000, according to new media age’s first digital industry salary survey.

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The survey of more than 2,000 digital professionals across four categories – client/brand, agency, media owner and service provider – found that the top echelon of client-side staff are commanding salaries with the median range at director level of £100-110,000.

The survey is published this week in the launch issue of Digital Professional, which from September will be a monthly supplement to new media age dedicated to training, skills and careers in the digital sector.

Overall, the nma Salary Survey supports the commonly held belief the digital industry is predominantly young, with the majority of respondents (57%) 26-35 years old. More than 60% of respondents were at manager level or higher, and most have been in their current jobs for less than four years.

Just under 60% expect to remain in their current position over the next year, reflecting a general strength in retaining staff. Of those expecting to change roles, just 4% said they intended to leave the digital industry.

Unsurprisingly, brands offer the highest salaries for digital practitioners. Graduates can expect pay between £20,000 and £25,000. According to the survey, there’s a significant jump from manager to department head, rising from an average of £35-40,000 to £60-£70,000. One of the most common roles, head of ecommerce, typically earns £70-80,000, while a head of digital, client-side, can expect between £60,000 and £70,000. The average marketing managers’ salary was £35-40,000.

At agencies, entry-level salaries went as high as £40,000 but were typically £16-20,000. Executives earned a little higher at £20-25,000, while those advancing to managers typically commanded £35-40,000, and directors an average of £70-80,000, reaping the benefits of developing a career on the agency side. Head of search was the most common agency role at department head level, earning an average of £70-80,000. Creative directors typically receive between £50,000 and £60,000, while account managers find their remuneration averages £30-35,000.

On the media owner side, entry-level salaries averaged £20-25,000. Senior executive level staff typically command between £40,000 and £45,000, while department heads experience a significant jump on this, averaging £60-70,000. One of the most common roles among media owners, sales director, generally earned £60-70,000. Digital producer roles, cited as sought-after, command an average of £35-40,000.

At service providers, incorporating ad networks, affiliate networks, analytics providers and email, mobile and search agencies, despite the level of specialist knowledge required, median salaries were relatively low, with entry-level employees getting £16-20,000. Managers reported typical earnings of between £35,000 to £40,000 and directors £60-70,000.

The survey also underlined that greater focus on data, effectiveness and ROI is driving changes in the skills required across all categories.

For service providers, demand for data-driven analysts is growing rapidly, while for media owners, the emergence of mobile channels is impacting developer requirements. The survey found that roles around audience insight and research were also increasing. At agencies, good information architecture and user-experience practitioners were in demand, the survey found.

Although the shift towards data is driving a skills gap, candidates possessing the right mix of client handling, data analysis and business acumen aren’t leveraging salaries up as much as expected. Agencies like Essence and Equi-Media are opting to take on graduates, providing the right training and recruitment.

With brands becoming media owners or taking marketing services in-house, job roles like analyst, email marketer, digital producer, in-house designer and senior project manager are at their most diverse, underlining the broader range of skills required.

The survey also found the gender split across the digital industry is a 60:40 ratio of men to women. This was more even at client/brands and service providers but more marked the further along employees are in their careers. At director level, there’s an 80:20 male/female split. At agencies, the gender split is generally around 60:40 men to women but shifts to 90:10 at director level.

This story first appeared on New Media Age. For more digital stories and analysis from NMA click here now

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