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Community Job Survey Results

alex profile image Alex Angel ・7 min read

It's happening!

A little over a month ago, a lot of us in the community space were on the same wavelength. We had multiple discussions with numerous people over the course of a few days about how it was so difficult to find any concrete information from a wide group of people about what compensation looks like for community managers, what people's job titles are, and how the community team ladders up within organizations. It's infinitely more difficult to advocate for yourself if there's little information about what comparative salaries and job functions look like (and we all know that community builders absorb so many responsibilities and often don't get recognized for the hard work they do). We wanted to try and fix that, and over 100 of you fabulous folks from all over the world provided us with (anonymous) details about your experience in the community industry.

Let's dig into the data and start off with some of the basics.

Where in the world are people located?

Community builders are everywhere! We received responses from people in 20 different countries, but the vast majority of respondents were based out of the United States (68%!!). We know that there are plenty of community builders representing other countries that aren't accounted for in this report, so hopefully we'll see some of you for v2 next year ;)

Where in the world are people located?

What are people's job titles?

We all know that job titles are more or less made up, and that community builders (regardless of what their title actually says) consistently own a variety of responsibilities that span everything from support to marketing to HR. While a majority of the responses we received were of the standard CM variety, there were a lot of fun ones that I hadn't seen before.

Community job titles

All told, we had 38 DIFFERENT job titles that people submitted. The inconsistency in job titles paints a picture we know all too well: that community is often used as a catch-all for miscellaneous tasks and that we have a lot of work to do to create understood career paths that other community builders can follow.

Some highlights for unique job titles are: Manager, Member Connections; Event Marketing Manager; Manager, Community & Loyalty; and Community Tactician.

Salary Specifics

What do salaries look like around the world?

We'll dig into some of the specifics of what people with different job titles earn, but here's a fascinating level-set for ALL types of community jobs from around the world. North America (including the US and Canada) accounts for a majority of the responses we received, and annual salaries range anywhere from $26,000 USD to well over $176,000 USD for community professionals. The next largest group represented in our responses is Europe, where a very different picture is painted. Even though there are people with the same range of job titles as there are in North America, the salary range is significantly lower, with people making less than $25,000 USD and only making up to $75,000 USD annually.

Community salaries around the world

What's the breakdown by gender?

It feels crappy to still have to do this sort of analysis these days, but it's important to highlight where there's still room for improvement when it comes to pay equality. I would also like to call out that we are using "other" as the third option here to help not single anyone out based on their particular response (we did some light data cleanup for these visualizations so that it wasn't as easy to identify individuals from within our community).

Community salaries by gender

What's the average salary a full-time Community Manager makes?

It's always tricky to determine whether the average salary is a good data point to consider, since cost of living and salaries vary significantly around the world. But I think it's important to have a baseline number to work off of, and do your own due diligence on what makes sense for where you live. If you're lucky, the company you're in negotiations with or already work for may not care where in the world you're located and will pay you according to what industry average is.

So, without further ado, based on our survey responses the average salary for a full-time community manager is $77,000 USD. The median is $75,000 USD; the highest reported salary for a Community Manager is $220,000 USD (way to go!!!), and the lowest is $31,000.

What's the average salary a full-time Senior Community Manager makes?

Moooovin' on up the responsibility chain comes along with a nice bump in salary (if you've been working in community for 4+ years, you've definitely earned it!). Senior Community Managers can expect an average salary of $102,000 USD, with the highest reported at $180,000 USD and lowest at $34,000 USD.

What's the average salary a full-time Head of Community makes?

Once you've been around the block (on average 7+ years as a CM), salaries jump significantly. Again, there will always be differences in how companies view a "Head of" position and what the responsibilities and purview may be, so the range here varies significantly. The average salary for a Head of Community is $141,000 USD, with the highest reported salary at $375,000 USD and the lowest at $44,000 USD.

What benefits should I expect to receive?

Most people who responded to the survey receive at least three core benefits from their employer. Since a majority of our respondents were based in North America, most of them included employer-covered-medical as one of their benefits (a handful noted that their medical/dental/vision insurance was 100% covered by their company... lucky ducks!). 68% of respondents said they received extended PTO (many received 3 weeks plus company holidays, and 22 receive unlimited vacation), and 55% have structured parental/family leave. Of the respondents who received a 401k (37% of total respondents), 26% had the added bonus of their company matching the employee's contributions (niiiice).

It's debatable whether this should be grouped with benefits, but 49% (!!!) said that their job was fully remote pre-pandemic. As a fellow remote worker, that warms my heart and I hope the trend continues!

My favourite three benefits that people receive are:

  • A sabbatical every 5 years of employment (yes please!)
  • Annual discretionary fund (really curious what you can/can't put that towards)
  • Donation match (I love when companies do this)

CM benefits

How long have community professionals been at it?

The results from this question are actually kind of awesomeβ€”there's a great balance of people who are new to the community world, people who've worked a good chunk of time in community, and people who've spent over a decade in the industry. I can't wait to see what this looks like in another 2-3 years now that we're in the middle of a community boom.

CM years of experience

One fascinating tidbit that we came across is that ~10% of folks who haven't been in a community role for very long (less than two years) have been at their current company for a number of years (more than 3 years). This is a good indicator that people from one department or job function are getting thrown into a community role (whether intentionally or out of necessity).

What team does the community team report into?

It almost feels like this is a meme at this point, but this question is hotly debated and we wanted to get some actual data from our community members on where their community "team" falls within their company. Unsurprisingly, 41% report into the Marketing team. What is surprising, though, is that the next largest bucket is an actual standalone Community team that reports into the executive team! This is huge, and we can't wait to check back in on this number each year to see how that changes.

There were a handful of roles that report into some outliers, including HR, Growth, Sales and Venture!

Community department

What is the Community Team's primary function?

We've seen the departments the community teams ladder up to, the fact that people are getting moved from one role to a community role at their same company, and a wide array of job titles that include words like "social" or "success" or "operations"... but what does that mean for the community team's actual purpose?

Communities serve different purposes for each company, regardless of industry and how the community team itself ladders up within the company. The most common purpose from our survey was communities centered around support: 50% of respondents said the primary function their community serves is one of support. Coming in at a not all too distant second at 34% was "advocacy," and "brand awareness" was third with 17% of the responses. I'm very curious how people would describe what "advocacy" means for their company/communityβ€”if advocacy is one of the core functions of your community and you're up for it, please share how you define it!

Community team purpose

We hope you've enjoyed our little Community Job Report! If you haven't already taken our survey, you can do so here. We'll keep this post updated as we receive new responses and the data gets more accurate!

Next year we'll be back to see how the information in this report changes. Here's to a maturing community industry and role.

Discussion

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maddieb profile image
Maddie Bertschmann

Really helpful to have this resource - I find it really challenging to find relevant compensation data on sites like Payscale given that community is still a bit niche in the broader job market. Curious if you're able to extract any insights about how salaries compare in high cost of living cities like New York and San Francisco (for example, if they're 10% higher than average). Do you have enough data to derive any insights there?

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Alex Angel Author

Alright, finally had some time to sit down and work through the numbers.

The averages for major cities like NYC and SF are indeed higher, but only for more senior positions:
Average for a community manager is $78,000 USD (compared to $77,000 USD globally)
Average for a senior community manager is $130,000 USD (compared to $102,000 USD globally)
Average for a director/head of community is $168,000 USD (compared to $141,000 USD globally)

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Maddie Bertschmann

Super helpful. Thank you Alex!

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Arielle Frank

These averages are limited to NYC & SF, right? If so, possible to get a US average too, please πŸ™?

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

US average salary in USD:
For community managers: $87,000 (numbers are weird, but I triple checked the math for reporting on salaries for CMs in NYC/SF and it was consistently $78,000. There were significantly more CMs from outside of those two cities which is why these numbers skew higher for the rest of the US, and CM salaries outside of the US are significantly lower which is why the average CM salary globally is only $77,000)
For senior community managers: $112,000
For director/head of community: $163,000

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badgalrelrel profile image
Arielle Frank

THANK YOU SO MUCH πŸ™

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dani profile image
Dani Weinstein

Great thread. Alex you may want to add clarity are these base salaries? Or is it total comp including bonus and equity packages as you reach more senior roles?

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

These are base salaries. We asked about bonuses as a separate question, but there weren't many folks who got bonuses so I didn't include it in the main report. Happy to answer any specifics you might have around that, though!

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Dani Weinstein

Thanks Alex! Sorry I missed this when the survey went out. I am wrapping up week 3 now as Senior Director, Customer Community and Growth at Kaltura reporting to the VP of Marketing. My role will likely grow in the next year and report to the GM. More than 12 years in this space. Survey results you shared are great and in line with what I am seeing for those of us with many years of experience.

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

I think I should be able to get that info for you! Adding it to my list :)

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Maddie Bertschmann

Awesome - thank you Alex!

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badgalrelrel profile image
Arielle Frank

I had the exact same experience, Maddie.

This report is a serious game-changer for community folk!!

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

Thank you!! I was so excited that so many people responded so we could work with a good data set. I hope that what we've shared can help folks go into those negotiation conversations prepared with enough data to really support their case.

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Mac

This is exactly why we're putting content like this together AND making it open, free and accessible for all!

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Jocelyn

Good stuff! Thanks for sharing the report. I look forward to seeing how things shift and evolve over the years.

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

Thanks for being one of the catalysts for this happening :D If there are any specific questions you have that aren't covered in my report please let me know, I can see if I can dig up some additional details for you.

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Jocelyn

Thanks Alex! I'd be curious to see what changes based on the person or team's main function. Do community advocates earn more than community support teams? Does it typically require more experience?

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

This is a great question. It might take me a day to dig in, but this is officially on my to-do list!

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Jocelyn

Thanks Alex!

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alex profile image
Alex Angel Author

I'll preface this by saying that these numbers are based on all job titles that responded with their primary team function (so there are a mix of senior and junior roles for each category):

For communities that are focused on advocacy, people earn on average $104,000 USD.
For communities that are focused on support, people earn on average $96,000 USD.
For communities that are focused on brand awareness, people earn on average $71,000 USD.
For communities that are focused on engagement, people earn on average $96,000 USD.


The following is the average salary in USD based on years of experience:
1 year of experience: $65,000
2-3 years of experience: $90,000
4-5 years of experience: $87,000
6-7 years of experience: $112,000
8-9 years of experience: $96,000
10+ years of experience: $148,000

Interesting to see the dips between 2-3 years and 4-5 years, and 6-7 years and 8-9 years. Some of this is due to location, but I think people need to start asking for raises!

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Jocelyn

Thanks so much for looking into this Alex! Super interesting (especially those dips).

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Mac

As Alex said, make sure you fill out the survey if you haven't already! We'll continue to update this post as the data gets even better.

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Alexandra

Am I missing something or why can't I find USA on the list of countries?

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Alex Angel Author

Whoops!! Good catch. Added :)

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Tristan Lombard

Great initiative! Thank you for this detailed report.

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Alex Angel Author

If there are any other insights you're curious about, let me know! I may be able to pull something together.

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Carter Gibson

Just shared this with my team. SO good. Thank you Alex!

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Alex Angel Author

Hope some of these insights are helpful for you as you're continuing to grow your team!

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Jill Ross

Great work team! Thank you for doing this research. If you continue to add data points, I would love to see the breakdown of salaries based on the company’s size and/or annual revenue.

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Alex Angel Author

I think I should be able to get you the salary based on company size! Adding that to my to-do list, and I'll ping you once I have something to share :)

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Jill Ross

Thanks so much!

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Alex Angel Author

Average salaries based on company size (in USD):
1-10 employees: $79,000
11-20 employees: $90,000
21-50 employees: $103,000
51-100 employees: $85,000
101-500 employees: $102,000
501-1000 employees: $118,000
1001-5000 employees: $86,000
5000+ employees: $148,000

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noeleflowers profile image
Boo-ele Flowers πŸ‘» πŸ₯€ πŸŽƒ

Oooh one thing thoughβ€”I think I missed the section on "% of community managers who love puns"?

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mac profile image
Mac

100% of community managers love puns. Its a job requirement!

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Alex Angel Author

Thanks! If you have any ideas for what you'd like to see in v2, let me know :D

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Ben Halpern

Really great read. I'd love more content like this!

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Alex Angel Author

Let me know if there's anything specific you're interested in and I can try and make it happen!

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David Kobrosky

Woah! On who the community team reports to after marketing: "The next largest bucket is an actual standalone Community team that reports into the executive team!"

Such a powerful sign that Community Managers are getting far more clout today than they were 5 years ago.

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Alexandra

You asked about other compensation like stock but then don't offer a place to add a # - some folks in tech get a majority of income from this option, so you are potentially missing big data point.

For "How many members does your community have?" - for me as an internal community manager its all employees generally have access, but this is a hard question. consider adapting?

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Alex Angel Author

We had a stock amount field on the last survey but no one knew what to put, so it honestly felt easier to remove than to try and have multiple questions about stock (e.g. some people don't know percentages, some people don't know numbers, and ultimately the value fluctuates and makes it harder to answer).

I think the number of members still applies, even if you're an internal CM. It's still reasonable to say that all of the employees are members of your community.

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Alexandra

Did you ask about type of community? Internal, external, market, customer...etc?

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Alex Angel Author

Not specifically, but we did get some responses around that based on titles and functions. The updated survey has a question similar to that, though, so hopefully for this next round of data we'll have some good answers based on those particulars.

Edit: I'm going to go ahead and add another question specifically around this so there's a concrete answer, rather than piecing together from various questions :)