A community of technology community managers, leaders, and builders.

Let’s talk about how much community managers get paid!


#1

This is an important topic that is hard to talk about publicly, but it could be great for an in-person off-the-record unconference session.

Setup: hand out slips of paper, anonymously write down what we get paid (optionally listing years of experience, region, or other details), pass around a hat to drop the slips in, shuffle it up, and post the results up on a wall. (With no photos or sharing specific info allowed outside the session.)

This can help prompt great conversations about figuring out whether we’re getting paid fairly (and negotiating for better pay if not).

I was part of a discussion like this at the AdaCamp unconference in Portland last month, and it was very interesting and fun.


#2

This is a brilliant idea - I love it! I can’t wait to see what the results are. :slight_smile:


#3

Are there notes from this discussion? I was in a different session and would love to know what I missed!


#4

As an off the record session, we didn’t take notes! We talked about a lot of factors related to pay and career progress. But a general impression of the numbers: the typical range for the Bay Area was $70-80k, with the upper range around $120-140k for people with a lot of experience and/or “technical” or “engineering” in their job titles (presumably with development experience). For other regions, there wasn’t enough data to make reasonable generalizations.

We also noted that we should all take Community Manager Salary Survey 2014, run by The Community Roundtable.


#5

@brittag I think it would be wonderful to a page on the Knowledge Base that provides some sample data for typical salaries and guidance for how to define a salary for a community manager. Would you be interested in putting together a page?


#6

Oh, my advice would pretty much just be “See if you can organize an in-person (or video call) meetup of community managers to talk about salary together. Pay varies widely by region, skills/experience, and type of company - and candid off-the-record discussions are powerful tools for helping each other figure out what’s going on.” I haven’t had enough discussions to be able to make useful generalizations yet beyond this bit in this thread.


#7

Thanks for the update, @brittag

I do think there could be some useful content that comes out of this. It could be useful to summarize:

  • How pay varies (region, skills/experience)
  • Common examples of salaries

This might be a fairly short page, but it could be useful and expand over time. Do you think you might be interested in capturing what you have?

Thanks!


#8

I’m having a hard time finding the results of that survey-- anyone have a link? Thanks!


#9

I’m not sure where the survey results are, but the CLS anonymous paper in a hat poll had a range of $30k up to $130k. The higher end salaries were definitely more technical, bordering on Technology Evangelist (Engineering) positions. The low salary positions similarly had some bleed over into customer service. The median was likely somewhere around the $75k mark.


#10

Thanks! That’s a pretty wide salary range. I hope we can narrow the gap (and raise the minimum) in the next few years!


#11

I think a lot of this really depends on the value they bring and their level of influence on an org.

I would suggest that in the US, a junior community manager should be on around $70k/year minimum, with a senior role bringing in closer to $180k/year.


#12

The Community Roundtable has released some preliminary results from their survey. It boils down to an average of $70,000 for community managers, $90,000 for community strategists and $110,000 for directors of community. The infographic they released has some really interesting info in it, so it’s worth a look. They’ll be releasing the full results later this year.

I think the key thing to remember is that this is an average. Above average professionals should earn more. There are plenty of community managers earning six figures. If you look at the U.S. Census cost of living data, Akron, Ohio is a good “average” city as far as cost is concerned. The average scales with cost of living. A community manager making $70,000 in Akron is essentially the super average. :slight_smile: But if you push that to San Francisco, the average should be $114,000. Manhattan would be over $150,000. Cookeville, TN? $60,000.

I believe that the short term (next year) impact of this survey is that, hopefully, the bottom will be raised. Underpaid community managers can use this information to get raises, which pushes the bottom up, which pushes the average up. A rising average helps everyone earn more - even those who are very well paid. If you are worth paying $40,000 above average, your salary will be more likely to shift higher as the average grows closer to you, as opposed to it dropping away.

Hope this helps.


Thanks to for being the kind sponsor for this forum!