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.
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 ;)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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)
The results from this question are actually kind of awesome—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.
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).
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!
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/community—if advocacy is one of the core functions of your community and you're up for it, please share how you define it!
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.