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September 2022 Job Market Report: Salary Increases, Hiring and Retention

Our September 2022 Job Market Report looks at salary expectations changes and available opportunities trends so businesses can better understand the hiring landscape and, more importantly, stay ahead of the competition. 

The data is segmented into trends within Agencies, DTC, Technology Vendors, Media Owners and Publishers. It breaks down relevant job vacancies in each sector with commentary from experts in those markets.

We are in an interesting time for hiring as inflation reached 10.1% in July and the number of job vacancies in the United Kingdom fell by the most in 2 years, down 34,000 between June and August. However, the overall number of vacancies remains historically high.

Overall, the digital sector has experienced a slowdown in the growth of vacancies, though this is still 3% higher than the same period in 2021. Technology Vendors and Agencies are experiencing a rise in vacancies from this time last year at 10% and 12% increase respectively.

agencies banner with group of team mates working across a desk


Agencies are experiencing an increase in vacancies (12%) and with that comes a rise in competition for the best talent as businesses compete for similar talent shortages.

“Our data shows a 19% increase in salary from the same 90 day period in 2021 and 2022 across nearly all of the channels across the agency landscape. This change is reflective of the ever-growing demand of Planning & Activation candidates with Agency experience in what has always been described as a saturated market.

Attributed to the year of experience lost due to Covid when agencies weren’t hiring graduate talent, as well as the continuous competition within the Agency world (networks and independents), salary demands have increased. Agencies have had to level up their salaries to attract and retain the best talent within the market.”

Holly Simpson, Director


Regular pay reviews, supporting the rising living costs and keeping updated on salary guides, are all ways of keeping competitive in a busy job market.  

Candidates across the agency landscape working in networks and independents continue to have an abundance of opportunities presented to them, both within other agencies, brands directly, and not to mention counter offers from their current Agencies. This is all without the backdrop of shiny offices with free breakfast and open bars to fall back on as most agencies continue to work remotely or via a hybrid model.

However, as the tide turns on the economy, and a higher volume of new talent emerges across all channels, there is an argument that salary increases may well level out for 2023.

Download our September Job Market 2022 report to look at changes in salary and new vacancies for those working in:

Account Management, Ad Tech, Ad Operations, Content, Creative, Data, Digital Marketing (Paid Search, Paid Social, SEO and Biddable), Media Planning, Programmatic Trading and Project Management


Direct to Consumer banner with people looking at a screen together

The Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) market experienced significant growth when the pandemic caused a major shift in consumer buying behaviour from brands as they navigated restrictions on going in store. Even as the pandemic wanes and consumers return to physical stores again, the convenience they’ve experienced from shopping online will remain.

“Anecdotally the trend of increased hiring across our DTC markets is reflected in wage growth over the past 12 months of 7%, rising to an average of £58,095 in 2022.

Yet, it was a surprise to see overall vacancies vs 2021 down 11% across the quarter. Maybe answers can be found in long term unfilled vacancies, where extreme competition for available talent drags out average fill times (+7 days vs 2021), the highest of all the sectors reported on, and results in the postponement of hiring plans as open vacancies roll over from month to month.

It will be interesting to see how the next 3 months play out, yet our advice to clients remains the same: Securing the best talent requires businesses to act decisively and with flexibility in a market that continues to surprise us.”

Rob Moss, Associate Director


The industry experienced setbacks from supply chain issues and labour shortages which is perhaps reflected in the data. Despite this, we are confident that the industry will continue to grow and innovate how we shop online.

Download our September Job Market 2022 report to look at changes in salary and new vacancies for those working in:

Content, Data, Digital Marketing, Ecommerce and Product


technology vendors banner with women smiling with curly hair

Our data also looked at the Technology Vendor landscape, analysing salary changes and vacancy trends including those in MarTech, AdTech, FinTech, HR Tech, EdTech, HealthTech, Mobility Tech, PropTech and SaaS.

Technology Vendors reported a 10% increase in new vacancies between the same time period in 2022 and 2021 (download the report for a full breakdown by specialisms).

Most roles in the Technology Sector saw an increase in expected salary, the only anomalies being Ad Operations and Marketing vacancies with a 5% and 15% decrease respectively.

“We have seen salary increases being driven by the lack of available talent with 2-3 years’ experience (a result of Covid) resulting in clients having to hire more experienced employees to fill their headcount.

We have seen a massive increase in Ad Tech sales hires being made to focus on Agency sales, whereas at the start of 2022, we saw a large demand for client direct and enterprise hires. Again, this has had a big impact on salaries, as businesses are competing for a very specific talent pool all at the same time. This has, in turn, driven the need for Ad Ops and AM teams due to companies needing to build out the support teams for the clients that they onboard.”

Matt Demain, Associate Director


According to City AM, 2021 was the best year ever for UK tech sector with £26bn in VC, 116 unicorns, record London listings and more jobs than ever before. With eyes now on year end, we will see if this investment continues to rise in 2023.  

Download our September Job Market 2022 report to look at changes in salary and new vacancies for those working in:

Account Management, Ad Operations, Ad Tech Sales, Customer Success, Digital Marketing, Marketing, Product, Programmatic Trading, Technology Sales




Our data shows that Media Owners and Publishers have experienced the highest in expected salary changes of all the sectors we reported on, increasing by 30%.

“We have seen a rise in mergers and acquisitions across the media space of the last year (NYT and Athletic; Future plc and Dennis; Warner Bros and Discovery), with 2021 being a record year for M&A (up 24%). Perhaps this, coupled with increase salary expectations has slowed down hiring as hiring managers ensure new talent will add legitimate business value and deliver insights and recommendations that benefit the business.”

Jordan Matthews, Senior Consultant


It will be interesting to follow in Q4 how commerce is performing. According to Deloitte, the rising cost of living has forced UK consumer confidence to a record low of -19% in Q2 2022, as rising inflation and subsequent price increases tighten the squeeze on consumer spending power.  

The knock-on effect for publishers in consumer confidence is a potential decrease in advertising spending. Although ads will continue to be the primary source of revenue for publishers, we understand that revenue diversification is a priority in the wake of disruptive changes and cookie-less advertising,

Publishers have been expanding revenue streams beyond advertising, including subscriptions, ecommerce, premium newsletters, donation campaigns, affiliate marketing, and more.

Download our September Job Market 2022 report to look at changes in salary and new vacancies for those working in:

Account Management, Ad Operations, Media Sales, Data, Digital Marketing and Programmatic Trading




Conclusion

Whilst growth continues to grow across the digital sector, all eyes will be on year end and 2023 as to what the landscape looks like. Our reports will be able to give you regular updates on salary changes and changes in hiring patterns.

Whether you’re hiring or trying to retain talent, we hope to deliver key data to inform any decisions you are making.

Download Sphere’s September Job Market report here. 


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