Digital Marketing Talent Trends

October 20, 2022

The dynamic labor market we’ve experienced over the past two years is showing some signs of stabilization to pre-pandemic levels. Unemployment and labor force participation are leveling out and as recent New York Times article says, “unemployment is low, and hiring is strong. But there are signs that frenzied turnover and rapid wage growth are abating.”

Those sentiments apply to the overall U.S. labor force, but what’s happening specifically for digital marketing talent? Conductor recently released their 2023 Digital Marketing Salary Guide which not only captures salary benchmarking; they also explore trends for digital marketing talent. One thing is clear:  Digital Marketing talent remains in top demand.

The Conductor salary guide provides solid comp benchmarking for various career stages in the most common digital marketing careers. Compensation might not be the #1 reason people change jobs, but it’s a really important factor, especially with such high demand for these roles. Conductor gathered data from Payscale, LinkedIn, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for their guide.

Compensation is a big factor in attracting, hiring, and retaining digital marketing talent, but it’s only one piece of the equation. Today we’re exploring some of our additional takeaways.

It’s Still a Candidate Driven Market for Digital Marketers

“Unemployment may be back to pre-pandemic levels, but job candidates remain in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing where, when, and how they want to work in digital marketing.”

The numbers are pretty staggering for digital marketing talent. 618,000 marketers left their jobs in 2021. 62% of marketers are considering a change in 2022; in fact, 24% are actively looking for a new role.

This high degree of talent mobility makes it easy to understand why marketing leaders struggle to hire talent. 1.3 million digital marketing jobs were posted on LinkedIn in 2021, a 374% increase YoY. The increase in jobs is in part due to talent mobility but also, the pandemic forced many companies to adopt new digital transformation strategies, creating even more demand for digital marketing talent.

All factors combined, It’s no wonder that 92% of marketing leaders say they struggle with hiring digital marketing talent, especially for professionals who specialize in SEO, content, email marketing, and PPC.

One solution organizations are increasingly turning to is the use of freelance or contract talent, a fantastic short-term alternative for filling critical talent gaps. Freelance is a growing alternative and lends itself well to web design, programming, graphic design/illustration, and mobile development.

What Digital Marketers Want

The study focused on three key priorities for digital marketing talent.

  1. Good work/life balance – not unlike other talent categories, the #1 thing digital marketers value is flexibility and work/life balance. 26% of employees left their company during “the Great Resignation” due to a lack of workplace flexibility.
  2. Learning & Development Opportunities – continuous learning is critical for digital marketing professionals, given the rapid pace of change in digital marketing strategies, tools, and technologies.
  3. Compensation – with high demand comes higher emphasis on compensation.


No Place Like Home

The Conductor study drives home the fact that 64% of the digital marketing workforce would consider finding a new job if they were required to return to the office full time. The reality is that digital marketers place top priority on flexible work options, so employers who require them to be in the office 100% will struggle to attract this segment of talent.

Salary Trends

The study explored an important aspect that gave us a lot of food for thought: the impact of geography on digital marketing salaries and the leveling of geographic differences due to the rise of remote work.

Despite the rise in remote jobs, salaries are still highest in major metropolitan areas such as New York City and San Francisco. In fact, “digital marketing managers in San Francisco make nearly 31% more than the national average.” If you’re hiring in these major metro areas, you’ll need to adjust your comp strategy accordingly.

The prevalence of remote creates one interesting question: “should digital marketers be paid differently for doing the same job because they live in different areas?”  Should remote work continue to expand, geographic salary disparity could event out and potentially drive salaries higher across the board.

Keeping Your Digital Marketing Talent

Finally, with increased investment in recruiting and compensating your talent, companies should pay more attention than ever to employee retention. Workplace flexibility is critical, and so is company culture. The study emphasized that “a company’s culture is the deciding factor between those that retain their most talented digital marketers and those that don’t.” Consider your employee engagement, DEI strategies, and corporate social responsibility effectiveness to retain your best and brightest.

Thank you for reading today’s Elevated Thinking blog. Elevation Talent Group helps Marketing and HR professionals achieve new heights at work, whether you’re seeking the next step in your career or you’re building your Marketing and HR teams. How can we help you aim higher? Contact us at


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