Salary Benchmarks: Hot jobs and the digital divide

December 02, 2013  |  Michelle Warren  |  Comments

The hottest jobs run the gamut from digital to… digital

If you’re a digital whiz with a knack for analytics, you may be the most sought-after candidate in the industry. Insiders agree that when it comes to hot jobs, the answer continues to be
digital, digital, digital.

“Pretty much all of the top-paying jobs are within niche areas of digital, from web to mobile and social,” says Ari Aronson of Ari Agency. “The cream of the crop would include those marketers who not only get digital, but have a track record for delivering successful digital results and the know-how to build the right digital teams.”

Overall, there’s a lack of senior marketing leadership with digital experience, so those who have it are in high demand and commanding high salaries—at least for now.

“Marketers with depth in digital will still be in high demand for the coming years, but over time fewer people will be digitally illiterate or challenged so their advantage may shrink,” says Michael Gates of Mandrake. “Certainly a great place to be is one of the young, talented creative people in the country. If you are in your 20s, have a job with a leading agency, have won some awards and have grown up in the digital era you are likely to be in high demand over the next few years and your salary will move along very quickly.”

On the agency side, there’s specific thirst for those with technical know-how and the ability to create user experiences that impress clients and win new business.

“Digital designers, developers, user experience specialists, information architects, digital strategists, digital marketers, analytics and digital content specialists are seeing the highest salary gains,” says Alicia Brum of The Creative Group.

With technology and multiple consumer touchpoints comes big data, which means those who can disseminate and turn information into opportunity are hot.

“Waterloo math grads will still do just fine no matter what happens to BlackBerry,” says Gates.

The American Marketing Association’s most recent CMO study suggests that analytical skills should be amongst the most critical for marketers as the amount of big data and digital channels continues to expand, says Craig Lund of Marketing Talent Inc. “By 2018, it is expected that the CMO’s technology spending will exceed that of the CIO. Perhaps this means the CMO acronym will then stand for chief measurement officer.”

Hot Jobs

With digital and analytics dominant, here are some of the hottest and highest-paying disciplines in the industry.

Digital designers
Designing for the web, social and mobile experiences, star digital designers are passionate about taking concepts and executing with inspiring creative design.

Creative technologists and programmers
With a growing emphasis on newer Java Script libraries, such us Ember.js, Backbone. js, Node.js and Angular.js, those who can navigate the new world and master Web 2.0 technology are in especially high demand. Innovation across mobile, tablet, social, gaming, wearable technology platforms and more requires technology pioneers with an insatiable appetite for the next big thing.

User experience specialists
These hybrid strategist, researchers and designers focus on customer experience. With short attention spans and little appetite for online experiences that don’t deliver on time, every time, keeping fickle customers happy is paramount. One bad experience can mean a lost customer, making user experience specialists critical to e-commerce, retail or any web-based business. At the core, they understand customers’ needs and give them what they want.

Information architects
Known as the “art and science” of organizing and labeling websites, mobile, social media, software, etc., information architects do more than draw boxes—it’s all about analyzing and understanding content, users and context to create seamless and engaging experiences. It’s part of the field of user experience, but as far as hot jobs go, it stands alone.

Digital content specialists
If content is king, then digital content specialists rule as they develop and create digital content to drive web traffic, build brand equity and enhance the user experience to ultimately increase customer acquisition and the bottom line.

Digital strategist
Digital strategists who actually know their stuff are in a category of their own. These are the people who approach digital holistically and help companies deliver a digital presence that goes way beyond simple social media.

Shopper marketers
Marketing highlighted this as the future hot job two years ago and shopper marketing has arrived, with high demand on both agency and client side. With an ever-changing
and increasingly competitive retail landscape that’s experiencing buyout and a U.S. invasion, manufacturers are looking for insight and strategies to win on the retail floor.

Analytics/data scientists
There’s a strong thirst for people who can synthesize data and help marketers make better, more insightful, strategic decisions. Then there’s the analytics whiz who knows how to track and measure digital campaigns, shining a light on the ultimate challenge: RO I. With all things analytical in demand, the geeks are poised to inherit the earth, or at least command the highest salaries.

Chief strategic officers
The right hand to the CEO, this relatively new position is designed for experienced “doers” who have the eye and influence for creating, communicating, executing and sustaining a company’s strategy, both internally and externally. These high-level visionaries have a proven track record and a knack for turning strategy into reality.

This story originally appeared in the Nov. 11 issue of Marketing. To read our full Salary Benchmarks report on salary ranges and issues affecting job seekers in the marketing industry, check us out on your iPad.

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