Published: Wednesday 14th of December 2016

Editor’s Note: This piece has been co-created by community builders Niki Vecsei and Alexandra Bowen.

No matter what stage of your career you’re in, it’s important to know how your work is valued in the open job market. Negotiating salary can be difficult due to lack of public studies and guidelines of what your knowledge and skills as a community professional are worth. But with the growth of this industry, it’s imperative that access to competitive salary, bonuses and benefits studies become available.

So we set out to make that happen.

As a result of this survey, we gathered a total of 116 unique responses in the timeframe of 3 weeks in October and November of 2016. Due to the wide range of data we’ve collected, this article will focus solely on salary, benefits, and bonuses for community professionals across the U.S. and a small slice of Canada. All incomes are displayed in USD $ and as annual incomes, unless otherwise stated in the graph or the write up.

So how much do community managers get paid?

Coast-to-Coast Average Incomes for Community Managers

The raw numbers revealed the following average salaries across the USA:

East Coast community professionals receive an average of $74,740 annually, Central and Mid-West at $67,730, while the West Coast and remote workers tied at around $90,000 on average (annually).

average-national-salaries

The typical salary band for each location was $70-80,000 on the East Coast, $50-60,000 in the Central and Mid-West region. On the West Coast, community professionals’ salary band was slightly more, around $65-80,000 for remote workers and between $70-90,000 on the West coast.

The lowest incomes ranged from $31,000 in the Central and Mid-West region all the way to $51,000 for West Coast employees. Although we have to highlight that remote employees topped out in this area at $59,000.

We saw two very senior community managers reach $175,000 annual salary, one located in New York and the other in Austin, Texas. This is heartening information about the increasing value of community positions, and we believe this is a reflection of their career seniority, their positions within the company, and the fact that they are in the tech industry.

Obtainable and maintainable top salaries ranged from $95,000 on the East Coast, $110,000 in the Central and Mid-West region, the West Coast and remote employees yet again tied at around $140,000.

We found that the West Coast pays consistently higher wages, including benefits and bonuses. We believe that some of the reasons behind that are that communities are very strongly favored by tech companies who are over-represented in the Pacific Northwest and the Bay Area. We also believe that the higher numbers mainly reflect the higher cost of living in these regions.

salarytable

The ultimate winners in the income bracket are the remote workers who have a very stable minimum income and their maximum and average income ranges rival that of the top cities of the USA: the Bay Area, NYC, and Boston.

Income Maps for Community Managers

To view your region’s numbers, look at the maps below overlaid with income statistics.

East Coast:

east-coast-salaries

Central to Midwest:

central-salary-map

West Coast:

west-coast-salary-map

Bonuses

Our survey included questions about bonuses and benefits. We processed the feedback and consolidated bonus insights into three main buckets: equity offered, cash or lump sum bonuses paid annually or quarterly (displayed in annual sums) and % of income bonus.

equitytable

Our base findings show that equity is no longer the biggest incentive in the market. On average only about 4-5% of companies offer equity to Community Managers, and it is seen mainly in the Bay Area and the Greater New York area.

The average % of income bonus offered was 15%. We had one respondent on the East Coast who got a whopping 25% in bonuses annually, but the rest of the respondents ranged anywhere between 12-20%.

The average lump sum across the nation is around $9,000 annually. The maximum annual bonuses reported to us where around the $24,000 (west coast) and $30,000 (remote) mark.

Overall it is safe to say that over half of all companies who employ community professionals offer some kind of a bonus structure, and some offer even more than one. Similarly, as with benefits, companies in the Central and Mid-West region are more prone to offer bonuses to subsidize their base pay packages. Nearly 70% of all companies offer some form of additional earning potential.

usa-bonus

bonuses-by-coast

Additional Benefits

Beyond base salary and the occasional bonus earned, having medical and other financial benefits (retirement funds, life insurance, disability insurance) are typically included in a well-rounded compensation package. We compared the results of the most typical benefits provided by companies across the nation.

We found that the Central and Mid-West region of the USA outperformed the rest of the nation based on the level of health care and 401k matching contributions. 90% of all employers in our survey provide some form of a healthcare plan and 75% provide 401k (retirement) fund matching. Both the East Coast and the West Coast offer healthcare plans in the high 90% range, but only about half of the companies offer 401k matching contributions. Remote workers are offered the worst benefits package, with less than half the companies providing health care and less than a quarter offering 401k matching.

We also found that most companies offer some kind of additional value service, such as free food and coffee in the office, or transportation and gym subsidies.usa-benefits

Canada

We’d like to preface this section by noting that we only had four respondents from Canada, so these results are not statistically significant. However, with additional research, we are able to glean some hypotheses about Canadian community compensation packages.

We found that, with the CAD$ being currently weaker than the USD$ (CAD $1 = USD $0.73) as of this writing, the earning potential in the USA seems to outweigh that in Canada. Our base numbers suggest that, as a Community Manager, your average income in Ontario may be around CAD $55,400 annually, with the lowest salary recorded in our survey being $44,000 and the highest $76,000.
canada-salary-map

What’s Next For You?

Regardless of where in the world you live and work, this information gives you leverage and knowledge to negotiate your next raise or job offer. There are a few steps you can take from here:

  1. Look even deeper into community compensation and job advancement potential in this annual study by The Community Roundtable.
  2. When you’re ready to negotiate your next raise or job offer, be sure to check out the CMX resource on how to negotiate your next community job.
  3. If you’re looking for jobs that will give you even more earning potential, check out the CMX job board for community roles where you can start your search.

 

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Alexandra Bowen

Alexandra Bowen | @AlexandraABowen

I have a passion for tech, community, design/cities & sustainability. Looking to change the world where those intersect. Little things make all the difference