Market Pricing Social Media Jobs (Really, Any Emerging Job Family)

Posted on September 13, 2011 by Chris Kelley Posted in KnowledgePay, Market Pricing, Salary Surveys

Ann Bares recently posted a blog on market pricing social media jobs. She really hit the nail on the head by using a very timely and relevant example many of us in the compensation profession are wrestling with right now. Today it is social media jobs, a few years ago it was web development, and tomorrow it will be some other emerging field. We need practical guidance for market pricing emerging job families

I don’t disagree with Ann’s advice at all, but rather wanted to add some additional perspective.

Understand the Labor Market: Know where people come from and/or go to when trying to fill those emerging job families. The social media job family that Ann has queued up is a fantastic example because five years ago, these jobs didn’t even exist. Think about it…no kid was playing in the sandbox twenty years ago saying, “When I grow up, I want to be a Community Moderator.” Yet today, there are thousands of people making a living by doing just that.

So, where did they come from?

Clearly, there’s no single answer, but when I look at the survey job summaries, the Monster job postings or the LinkedIn profiles of people doing this type of work, I see threads of both journalism and marketing. This prompts me to study the market data for those job families as well. Granted, this is not your typical “70% of job duties” type of job match for the social media jobs, but it does provide some insight on the wages paid to people in a nearby talent pool. If the tasks and qualifications are reasonably similar, the market data for these adjacent, but more established, job families will tend to track with the emerging field.

Salary Surveys Used by the Competition:  By now, we should all know that the Department of Justice frowns on gathering pay data directly from other employers (understatement), but there’s no harm in either directly or indirectly knowing which reputable salary surveys the competitors use to market price their jobs.

Here’s an example from a recent project using this type of research. Step one involved getting the hiring executives’ perspectives on who they felt were the relevant labor market competitors. By studying the participant lists of four of the established salary survey sources having a variety of e-Commerce and Social Media jobs, it was easy to see where the market competitors were going to get their wage data. In this case, it was the Croner Digital Content & Technology Survey that rose to the top. But this post is really about the process you could use for a wide range of emerging job families.

Compensation professionals that know how to research the labor market to understand the talent dynamics are demonstrating compensation intelligence and are better equipped to serve the organizations of the future. After all, the pace of change for new types of jobs is only increasing, making this topic even more relevant for the future.