AIMIA 2016 Digital Industry Salaries Report

The Digital Industry Association of Australia recently released the findings of its 2016 investigation into the digital industries and salaries.

Initially, I was interested to read the report as I was on the hunt for a new role and wanted to make sure that my expectations, in regards to remuneration and a couple of other factors, were on track for my industry.

There are a number of interesting figures highlighted by this report. The statistics found by this report for those working in the social media and marketing areas is in line with the findings in last year’s Australian Community Manager’s Survey conducted by Quiip, swarm community management conference, and Dialogue Consulting.

Also of note is how out of step the salaries for those in the executive branch of the industry are, when compared with professionals across the spectrum of roles included.

At $200,000, the median salary of Senior Digital Executives is markedly higher than that of the second most highly paid digital professionals .

At $200,000, the median salary of Senior Digital Executives is markedly higher than that of the
second most highly paid digital professionals (eCommerce: $120,000).

What I would like to see is a report comparing expectations of those looking to enter the digital industries to the realities of working in the field. I’m talking points like salary (obviously a large factor), hours worked in the office, hours worked outside of office hours, unpaid work hours (come on, we all know it happens), and job satisfaction. I think these are all important factors to consider when looking to enter a new job, but are of especial interest to those who are new to the workforce in general.

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Australian Community Managers Survey 2015

Numbers make me happy. Numbers about groups of people make me especially happy. Numbers about groups of people that include me? Even better!

That’s why the results of the benchmark 2015 Australian Community Managers Survey was of particular interest to me.

I think some people underestimate the power that community management has over a brand's identity in this increasingly digital and social world.

The survey was commissioned by Dialogue Consulting, SWARM community management conference co-founder Venessa Paech and Quiip, Australia’s leading social media and online community management company, to investigate the state of the professional online community management sector and its practitioners who build, manage and support online communities. The results delivered in spades.

It has revealed a highly educated work force under pressure, with four in 10 earning less than the national average despite long working hours that sees half working more than a five day week. But, beyond that, it also highlighted a number of issues needing resolution:

  • Approximately 40% of  survey respondents earned less than the national average.

  • 43% of respondents are working more than five days a week,. Almost one in 10 (30 of 262 respondents) work seven days a week, with three in four (77%) work more than an eight-hour day.

  • Despite the 24/7 nature of social media and online communities, less than one in five respondents said their organisation provided around the clock monitoring. Eight in 10 (82%) said their organisation conducted moderation within business hours, with at least some out of hours.

  • While almost all organisations collected metrics around their communities, four in 10 respondents said only some of their communities had a defined purpose – and one-third of those that had a purpose had no formal strategy in place.

So, why does this matter to me? Why am I writing about it? Well, for starters, it shows that there is a lack of understanding in this field. Organisations are realising the need to hire community and social media professionals to help support their brands, but lack the knowledge to harness, utilise and support this highly educated and, to be perfectly frank, freaking awesome group of professionals. It’s just another case of something shiny and new being brought on board without a clear plan for optimising the workforce.

If you’d like to obtain a copy of the report for yourself, you can do so at the ACM website.

What I learned by gatecrashing another workplace

Let me start by saying that the title of this piece is a little misguiding.

*cough cough* 136 zombie kills. Just saying.

*cough cough* 136 zombie kills. Just saying.

It wasn’t a real gatecrash in the true sense of the term.
More like an invitation extended on which I acted.
Alright, I was an invited guest.
But it made a really good title.

I recently returned from a trip to Melbourne, during which I covered the swarm conference (it’s my annual national-scale giving back to the community project) through live tweets and blog posts of the two days it ran. It is always an eye-opener and an educational experience, sharing the room with so many amazing minds in the community and social media management arena. If you missed my work, or if you want to learn more about the only annual Australian conference for Online Community and Social Media Managers, you can check them out here.

I also took some time off to just enjoy the sight and sounds of Melbourne. I had the chance to catch up and hang out with my very good friend, Venessa Paech. If you don’t know this amazing lady, then you’re missing out. She is a wealth of knowledge concerning community management and a constant source of awesomeness.

Venessa is Senior Manager for Community & Content Strategy with REA Group, and I was invited to pop into the office to catch up with her and the crew after swarm. What I learn was very valuable indeed.

Lessons I learned at REA Group.

1) Work hard, but make time for play.
While many workplaces pay lip service to facilitating the work/life balance of their employees, few really offer ways in which to truly help. Even fewer employees seem willing to accept such offers. Whether it’s not wanting to appear unable to cope, or if it’s a lack of willingness to let their guard down, employees are not striking a true balance in their life and employment. REA Group has made some great moves to endorsing and encouraging fun in the workplace, with an emphasis on helping their employees strike their own sense of balance. Whether it’s taking time out to sit on the couches in breakout areas and play Guitar Hero, or if it’s grabbing the Oculus Rift gear to thwart zombies, these guys have really taken the “Balance in all things” phrase to heart. They even hold classes in the office for Zumba and subsidise gym memberships, showing that healthy choices are all part of striking the balance employees need and want in their lives.

2) “Hot-desk” isn’t a dirty word.
Sure, there are some roles in which you simply can’t have a different desk every day. sometimes, you really do need your own place and for that place to be always yours. When possible, and properly implemented, hot-desking can prove to facilitate employee productivity. It can stop the silo-ing effect of nesting, and helps teams to find a place that works for them and their particular efforts. It also means that if that person who insists on clicking their pen ad nauseum (or any other really annoying habit that you simply can’t stand) isn’t so offended when you simply up and shift to a new position.

3) Employee health IS an employer’s concern.
We often forget that, unless properly managed, one of the cons to increased work hours is a decline in employee health. With office hours on a general increasing trend, it falls to the individual AND their employer to ensure that health, physical and mental, is protected. Walking meetings, standing desks, opportunities to move around, offering exercise incentives, allowing regular breaks, ensuring good office ergonomics and allowing flexibility in work conditions are all ways in which employers can genuinely assist their employees in finding their own ways to ensure good health.

4) Your workplace is a community.
We spend so much of our time at work, but often forget that the people we work with are people too – people with feelings and families and a set of ethics and values. For that reason, your workplace is a community of people, each bringing valuable societal information to share. The moment you start looking at your colleagues in this way, work becomes less of a place to hack away at tasks, and more a place of collaboration and communal problem-solving that makes everyone feel good about the work they are doing.

5) Helping people is good.
REA Group holds regular Hackathons. These Hack Days are a chance for people to pitch ideas they want to work on, for customers, or as a way of giving back to their community outside of work. Whether it’s setting up a national volunteer database, or helping homeless people find a safe place to sleep, allowing employees to work on tasks that benefit someone outside of the workplace not only provides exposure for your company, but also shows that you recognise your place of privilege without society and are wiling to use that position for the greater good.

REA Group is a huge crew, but these lessons aren’t only for big organisations. They work and have meaning on smaller scales too.

And every work place should have zombie-smiting sessions.

Book Review – “Buzzing Communities” by Richard Millington.

Disclaimer: This book was included as an addition to the attendee bags for the swarm conference held during September in Sydney, which I was the blogger for. I was not paid to review this book, and have decided to do so to spread knowledge about it under no reciprocal agreement.

 

"Buzzing Communities" by Rich Millington

“Buzzing Communities” by Rich Millington

This book is subtitled “How to build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities” and boy does it teach that.

Having heard Rich speak at the swarm conference a few weeks ago, I was pretty excited when I finally got a chance to read this book. Since returning to Perth from Sydney, I have started a new full time position, as well as continuing my study, so “free time” is a mythical unicorn that frolics in pastures unknown to me at the moment. I tried to make a start of it on the plane home, but sleep was apparently more important as far as my brain and eyes were concerned.

Rich is the founder of the company Feverbee and The Pillar Summit. They run courses for professionals teaching community managers best practices for their groups. Should I get a few moments to take a better look into it, I would like to attend one. Oh free time, you special luxury you. ahem, but I digress.

This book is split up into clear sections, starting with how to manage your community, and what you need to know about your members. Within each of these sections are very straight forward chapters that describe in moderate detail the elements a community manager needs to understand in order to really get a community moving and building. There is also a good amount of information on how to properly sell the idea of building a community to higher management.

Perhaps the best section, from my view point at least, is how to really measure the return on investment for your community. We sometimes gets blinded by the warm fuzzies of community building and management that we forget that there’s only really worth and value to a company if you can show, on a chart or graph, what the community is giving back to the business. Rich manages to clear away the warm fuzzies, without hurting anyone’s feelings, and get down to the nitty gritty of it all.

He also does a great job of helping community managers define what success looks like. After all, if you don’t know what success looks like to you, or your management team, how are you going to know when you’ve achieved it?

He also includes a couple of great appendices at the end of the book. There is one describing some great online communities to go and have a look at, as examples of the principles he describes in the book. There is also a recommended reading guide, giving the reader a chance to go and build on what has been learned in his book. I particularly like when instructional books do this because it show a degree of humility on the part of the author, or that they want the reader to get more than what they can just offer them in the book they have penned.

I would recommend this book to community managers of all levels of experience, as well as marketing and PR teams who think they might like to develop a community for their brand. If both sides of the field know what is what when it comes to starting, redesigning or building a community online, then the outcomes can be much clearer and everyone knows where they stand.

 

Rich Millington’s book “Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities” is printed by FeverBee and can be purchased through Amazon.com in paper form or for the Kindle.

Why Community Managers Are Needed.

If you have a group online, if you are trying to bring a community online, if you’re a brand trying to get followers through social media, then you need a community manager. It doesn’t matter how big you are, how many followers you have, or if you have someone who is happy to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day in the office, the field is so very complex that it isn’t a job that can be done annexed to another position. It is a role that requires specific attention to specific detail. These are the reasons why.

Reason One:

Would you allow a plumber to perform heart surgery on you?

Probably not. Or, if you would, you deserve all you get. Seriously. Unless, of course, they’re connected to a medical adviser on the telephone and you’re in a remote area, you’re probably not going to achieve a high degree of success. The same goes for community management. While it might have some similarities to marketing or advertising or branding, it’s just not the same. It requires a specific set of talents and skills that are very select and, unless someone is prepared to give the time to developing those skills, they’re not likely to just wake up one day and have them.

Reason Two:

Would you want someone not dedicated to an specific field to be a professional in that field?

In an ever changing arena, it is important to have someone who is prepared to sit down and watch trends, watch hash tags, watch what the community is doing and keep an eye on nastier elements. If you don’t, things will run away from you. This has happened time and time again in communities offline, as well as online. The mentality that your community isn’t so big as to need a community manager is a retroactively dangerous one. If community guidelines, communications strategies and crisis action plans are not in place from the very beginning, you are asking for an incoming storm to take you down.

Reason Three:

If someone is happy to tow the company line, will they stand up and tell you you’re wrong?

A community manager is your link to the outside world in such a way that no one else within your business can be. Retail staff, if that’s your field, don’t normally hear a lot about the way people are disgruntled or, if they do, once they leave the store, they no longer care. Online, a bad review, a criticising tweet is out there forever. You can’t take that down. You need someone who will stand up, tell you what people are saying and have the digital balls to tell everyone what is what. If the person dealing with your online community or customer base doesn’t have the hutzpah to take a situation in hand, then you are ruined online, and that is lost money.

That is just three darned good reasons why community managers should be one of the most prized employees on your team. They are you connection to the world online and offline. A good community manager will keep your brand strong online, which is where it matters most.