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How Rising Digital Marketing Salaries Are Affecting Startups

If hiring digital marketers for your B2B startup is keeping you awake at night, fear not. You are not the only insomniac out there. Supply and demand is the culprit here too.

The demand for digital marketers (and marketing) was soaring before COVID became a household name but the virus’s longevity created for demand to outweigh supply to an extreme.

The path was quite clear:

  1. Everyone locked at home created a rapid increase in online transactions and pushed the technology laggards amongst us to become proficient consumers.
  2. The evaporation of face to face meetings meant that companies were left with little choice other than to invest in digital marketing.
  3. Massive investments in tech companies over the past 24 months has further fueled the marketing economy in terms of money being spent on media, MarTech tools and of course the marketing teams to run the show. Investors are looking for a return and marketers have been tasked with unprecedented awareness and leadgen goals.
  4. As if the above 3 weren’t reason enough for digital marketers to be highly in demand, along comes the Great Resignation, with upwards of 38 million workers joining its ranks in 2021 in America alone. “In some cases, people left jobs because of burnout, or because they no longer felt the deal they were getting was worth it,” says Econsultancy Founder & President, Ashley Friedlein. “Also, Covid caused many to reassess their lives and they realized they weren’t happy in their work, they’d become alienated from it, disconnected and disenchanted.”

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Digital marketing salaries rose in Israel, just as they have everywhere else

In 2022, as the business world continues to edge towards ‘nearly-normal’, there are now more marketing roles available than candidates to fill them, which is pushing up the average salary of every digital marketing role, from junior to senior.

Econsultancy’s Friedlein, suggests that the war for talent in digital and marketing is now ‘endemic’, with salaries for marketers in the tech sector growing by around 30% last year alone.

In Israel, digital marketing salaries have followed a similar trajectory. Israel's high-tech sector raised over $25 billion in 2021, signaling huge growth for startups in 2022 (and beyond). This makes the hunt for good talent fiercely competitive not just for programming and engineering jobs, but for non-technical positions as well, including marketing.

Gotfriends’ CEO Shiri Vax, said that there was a 10% rise in the average salary in the second quarter of 2021, compared with the first quarter. And data from compensation platform Compete, shows that although tech salaries in Israel fell 7% in 2020 due to pandemic-related factors, salaries for other positions rose by as much as 30% in the first half of 2021. Just one example is the average salary of an experienced marketing manager with 5+ years of experience rose 31% to NIS 34,000.

Is this meteoric rise in salaries a positive change? Depends on who you’re asking:

A LinkedIn post headlined #stopthemadness was published in July 2021 by Avi Golan, CEO of Oosto (previously AnyVision). Golan received a great deal of both support and criticism for suggesting that by constantly changing jobs for higher pay, young Israeli tech employees are actually damaging both their companies and their own careers. He also called on his fellow CEOs in the tech sector to stop what he described as "recruitment madness" before the bubble bursts.

But in an interview with Globes, Golan addressed his critics by explaining that while he doesn’t believe there’s a bubble in investments in Israel, there is one in employment. “I will do what other companies are doing, which is to offer attractive salaries in order to find talented staff because I am working in a competitive market. Do we have any other choice? But if we don't move forward on certain things and only raise salaries, then we will come up against the same problem again and again. I've flagged the situation because many of my colleagues are talking but not doing."

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How to attract new digital marketing talent and retain existing team members in a ‘candidate’s market’

Employers should consider the following factors in an attempt to attract and retain great employees:

  1. Offer clear opportunities to grow. A great way to provide a sense of professional growth to both new and existing employees is to offer training – not just for their current job function but for complementary skills that will broaden their horizons and add value to their contribution to the team. An inbound marketer for example, can start to also get trained up on lead generation and vice versa. 

  2. Show appreciation, regularly. For many managers, providing feedback usually involves waiting for the annual review; that is too little and too far apart. It’s a missed opportunity to make hard-working employees feel appreciated for all of their great work. Ensuring good work is celebrated and constructive feedback is provided on an ongoing basis is crucial; make a point of celebrating little wins as well as the big ones, either by praising individual employees, or by showing appreciation for the team as a whole with fun group activities, like going out for a meal.

  3. Offer competitive salary packages. Do your homework and make sure you’re paying your employees what they’re worth. If you can’t offer as much as you’d like in the salary itself, complement it with other package elements that demonstrate the effort you’re willing to make to either attract or retain them. Bonuses, share options, professional training, flexible hours and many more options.

  4. Add some perks! These days, the salary isn’t the only drawcard for prospective employees. They are also looking for a work-life balance and a sense that the company genuinely cares about their wellbeing, so offer perks that will satisfy those demands, and get as creative as your imagination and budget will allow.

  5. Train up your juniors or those looking for a career change. When it comes to entry-level employees, training allows employers to ‘shape’ the skill set of their workers in accordance with company priorities. And for junior employees or those looking to transition into a new career, your company’s investment in training them up is something they will always be grateful for, setting them up for the rest of their careers.

  6. Offer a hybrid work environment. According to The Economist’s The World Ahead 2022 report, before the pandemic, only 5% of work was remote in the US and 27% of employers offered flexible hours. Today 40% of work is remote and 88% (practically all) US employers offer flexible working hours, demonstrating a clear demand for flexibility.

    While these are US figures, they are a reflection of the attitude to hybrid work around the world. “The interesting thing,” said Econsultancy’s Friedlein, “is that employees have the power. In marketing/digital, as with most other jobs it seems, it is a candidate’s market. So, whether employers want to offer these levels or not… they have to in order to attract and retain talent.” Offering a hybrid environment that allows people the flexibility of remote and on-premise work is a huge drawcard for the typical post-pandemic employee.

  7. Invest in your company culture. Sometimes the most notable factor that earns companies a reputation as a coveted place to work, is their company culture. So, it’s imperative that you develop one that exudes friendliness, a sense of diversity and inclusivity, a genuine appreciation for employees, and a fun, rewarding atmosphere that includes both new and long-standing employees.

  8. Hire from other countries. If we’re working from home, then home can be anywhere around the world. Decide which elements are essential to you – time zone, native language proficiency, qualifications, level of experience, etc, and then see in which countries these folks can be found. When commuting isn’t an issue, neither is recruitment, especially when you have companies such as PapayaGlobal and Deel who set up the employment requirements for you. The days of needing to set up a subsidiary in order to hire are long gone.

Building stellar teams is hard work, and it can take a long time to reach the perfect mix of skills and talent to propel your company to the heights you envision. In the current climate of increasing digital marketing salaries, expanding marketing teams too quickly can also put a strain on your budget. Fortunately, a startup marketing agency like Marketing Envy can give you the best of both worlds!

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