In-house search engine marketers (SEMs) are receiving healthy salaries in line with their experience levels but if you want a salary in the mid-to-high $100s to the $200K range you are usually going to have to invest five to seven years to get there – a traditional dynamic in which experience brings greater compensation.
One of the key findings is that roughly one third of in-house search engine marketers are managing monthly budgets in excess of $200,000. “We anticipated a lower ceiling of monthly spend closer to the $100,000 range so we were pleasantly surprised,” says Duane Forrester, co-chair of SEMPO’s In-House SEM Committee and Lead SEO Program Manager with Microsoft. “The $200K monthly spend is a healthy barometer of the search marketing industry and it syncs up with SEMPO’s current trend projections that SEM spending will double by 2011, to more than $18 billion.”
A cross section of global entry level, mid and upper level, in-house managers and in-house analysts completed the online survey during the fall of 2007. There were 656 completed surveys, a strong market response to this inaugural project. The survey was open to all in-house SEM professionals – working in organic or paid search. SEMPO membership was not a requirement to take the survey.
SEMPO’s largest pool of survey respondents – more than 26% – came from managers, whose compensation clustered in the $60,000 to $90,000. Despite the manager’s title, SEMPO found that almost half did not directly manage people.
Senior managers and directors comprised close to 20% of the respondents. Salary ranges for senior managers clustered in the $70,000 to $100,000 range, with more than 36% reporting an annual salary of $80,000+ to $100,000.
Director level compensation tracked with experience: more than 18% of the directors taking the survey said they had from five to seven years experience. About a quarter of this group reported annual salaries between $100,000 and $120,000. With this comes greater responsibility: more than 44% said they managed monthly budgets in excess of $200,000.