Marketing Talent Receive High Salaries, So What Does That Mean For Startups?

Hiring a marketer can be a costly investment as his or her salary is likely to be touching a triple digit figure. But how did marketers get so expensive?

“There’s a lot of competition for talent right now,” observes Alastair Mitchell, an entrepreneur who co-founded Huddle in 2006.

“Quality graduates can be snapped up straight out of universities… and US and European companies have realized this,” he adds.

As a result of the competition for top talent, starting salaries for graduates who possess degrees average over $60,000. That’s a pretty pay package for an marketer who is just starting out, but it’s an expensive question to answer for an entrepreneur with an early-stage startup who wants to attract the best talent in the industry without yet having generated revenue.

Talented Marketers

‘Next Sexy Opportunity’

This is a dilemma for entrepreneurs with a big vision and no marketing or developer talent.

“If you don’t pay enough, you’ll lose them to the next sexy opportunity,” says entrepreneur Michael Carney. “Give up more equity to lessen burn rate, and you lose control of your company even faster.”

Now marketer and web designers know how much they should be paid. Job portal AngelList publishes data on average salaries and standards for equity compensation.

“The results are revealing,” explains Carney. “The average salary for a developer across all job postings on the platform is $93,000. Equity compensation ranges from 2 percent down to 0.5 percent.”

But Carney says that contrary to what you might believe, it’s actually those in sales who demand more on AngelList’s job portal. Marketers are getting offers around $92,000, where web developers average $88,000.

It’s About Culture, Not Just Cash

At these pay rates, how to snatch the most productive marketer is tricky.

“New graduates can command $100,000 a year in Silicon Valley,” says Matt Mickiewicz of recruitment agency Hired. 
He says, “Hired has found that bumping the offer up to $120,000 gives you access to 30% more candidates. “There are definitely people who are 2 -3 times more productive than others and if you believe that, then paying them 20% more is a bargain.”

But according to Alastair Mitchell, there’s another way to look at the value in your pitch for the next top-notch potential member on your team: your startup’s culture.

“For today’s graduates, it’s not just about offering more money,” says Mitchell. “The culture is just as important as the financial gain.”

Mitchell believes that young marketer want more than just ‘sexy’ salary offers. They want skills, training and career development as well. That means widening the scope of your recruitment strategy and looking at what your existing team means for your next recruits as well.

“The best way to attract talent,” Mitchell thinks, “is with talent.”