Nearly 800 North Americans responded to the CMSWire 2013 Salary Survey, and we've captured summary data and open ended questions to present a detailed story about our readership and what is happening in the workplace in our three sectors of Customer & Web Experience, Social Business and Information Management. 

We opened the survey in mid November 2012 and ran it through early 2013. The survey was targeted at US and Canadian readers for simplicity’s sake.

Audience & Salary Overview

Our readers are well educated, have a high interest in the topics we cover most (naturally), and are just a bit more likely to be male versus female, according to the responses.

They work in Software/Technology, Media/Marketing, Professional Services (strategic, financial and technical) and Education, more than in any other industry sectors. Nearly 60% of full time workers in the survey reported working in one of the below four fields:

  • 27% Software/Technology
  • Professional Services (strategic, financial and technical)
  • 11% Media/Advertising/Marketing
  • 5% Education

By Sector - Software / Technology

Those who identified themselves as working in the Software/Technology sector were 65% male, averaged approximately 41 years of age and had a median reported income in the range of US $100,000 to $130,000 (upper quintile earned approximately US $212,000 on average). This income range compares to the 2012 US household median income of $45,018, as reported by the US Census Bureau.

The Software/Technology group said it was interested most in the Customer Experience, Web Experience and Web CMS subject matter, followed closely by Social Business, Collaboration and Intranets.

By Sector - Professional Services

The self described Professional Services (strategic, financial and technical ) workers in our audience were 57% male, averaged approximately 46 years of age and had a median income in the range of US $100,000 to $130,000 (upper quintile earned approximately US $156,000 on average). This group expressed the most most interest in Social Business, Collaboration and Intranet subject matter, followed closely by Customer Experience, Web experience and Web CMS.

By Sector - Media / Advertising / Marketing

Our Media and Advertising based audience were 60% female, averaged approximately 42 years of age and had a median income in the range of US $56,000 to $80,000 (upper quintile earned approximately US $202,000 on average). The group said it was primarily interested in Marketing, Marketing Automation and CRM subject matter, followed closely by Social Business, Collaboration and Intranets.

Those working in the Software/Technology sector seemed to be slightly happier in their work than those in Professional Services (strategic, financial and technical). It’s a larger category, but it had an 81% vs. 76% edge over how many people said they liked or really liked their jobs.

The other two top job sectors -- Media/Marketing and Education -- had similar responses to those in the Software/Technology sector. They were slightly happier in their jobs than those in Professional Services, keeping in mind they are smaller categories.

By Sector - Education / Higher Education

Beyond the top three industry segments, the CMSWire audience represents a long tail of industry representation. Or in other words, a significant part of our audience is quite horizontal in nature.

With that said, the next largest sector represented by the CMSWire audience is Education and Higher Education. 5% of respondents said they worked in these fields, and they were 65% male, averaged approximately 43 years of age and had a median income in the range of US $56,000 to $80,000 (upper quintile earned approximately US $160,000 on average). This group said it was most interested in Web Experience and Web CMS followed by Social Business, Collaboration and Intranets.

CMSWire Reader Salary Survey 2013

CMSWire Salary Survey 2013 Results

Segments and Job Titles

Interestingly, nearly 20% of those who said they worked in the Software/Technology sectors in fact hold job titles like marketing or business development directors/managers. Even within the Media/Advertising/Marketing segment itself respondents often did not identify themselves as having a marketing job title. 20% of the Media/Advertising/Marketing segment hold job titles like CEO, President or Principal, the largest job title group in this segment.

For the Professional Services workers, 17% identified themselves as CEOs, Presidents or Principals. The next two largest segments were Business or Functional Consultants (10%) and IT VPs, Directors or Managers (10%).

Those working in the Education/Higher Education sector were, as previously noted, a smaller portion of respondents, but the job title breakdown for this group was 20% IT VPs, Directors or Managers followed by IT Programmers and Systems Analysts (17%).

Interests, Professional Development

The 27% of respondents who said they worked in Software/Technology were the people most interested in strategy training that would help advance their careers. We might speculate and guess that this reflects the extreme rate of disruption and technology evolution in this sector.

These respondents preferred methods of professional development were attending conferences, online webinars and reading white papers and ebooks.

The same held true for the Professional Services crowd, except they were more likely to favor ebooks and white papers over online webinars for professional development. In fact, they were as likely to read professional books as they were to participate in webinars.

Only the educators in our audience (among the top four most mentioned groups) were looking for professional certifications to best advance their careers. They also were the most likely to prefer attending physical conferences as their preferred method of professional development.

That leaves the Media/Advertising/Marketing group, and like the top two groups, they were most interested in strategy training to advance their careers. The only difference was they were more likely to select physical conferences over webinars as a preferred method of professional development, but overall chose reading white papers and ebooks as the top choice.

Learning & Happiness

The busiest and some of the highest paid people in our survey worked 60 hours or more per week. Those super busy people were mostly interested in Social Business Collaboration and Intranets, and their preferred method of professional development was self learning on their own time by reading ebooks and white papers.

That correlation didn’t work the other way around, however.

Those who were most interested in self learning via ebooks and white papers didn’t appear to have higher salaries. In other words, reading ebooks and white papers may be good for development, but it seems to have little correlation with earning a high salary.

Those same ebook and white paper readers were also no more or less likely to be happy with their jobs.

Overall, 82% of survey respondents said that they either liked or really liked their jobs. For ebook and white paper readers, that number was nearly identical. Online webinar attendance was also a popular choice of professional development, but again, those people were no more or less happy with their jobs compared to others.

Choice of professional development style also had little effect on how influential people were in terms of decision making and purchasing power related to the software and tools their organizations procured. Most respondents said they had some influence in this area, about 85%. This group includes 48% of those who said they had influence on software purchases and 37% who sometimes had influence on purchases.

As you would expect, the most influential respondents, in terms of software and tool purchases, were the  Presidents, Chairmen, CEOs or Principals of Software/Technology companies. The second most influential group were the Presidents, Chairmen, CEOs or Principals within the Media/Marketing sector.

Salaries and Education

The average salary of all of the full time workers in our survey was US $106,000, and those in the top four most mentioned job sectors averaged US $109,000. The median salary of full time workers overall was US $90,000 compared to US $100,000 for those in the top four most popular job segments. This income level compares quite favorably to the 2012 US household median income of $45,018, as reported by the US Census Bureau.

As for those who invested more in their education, 33% of our survey respondents said they had advanced degrees such as a Master’s, MBA, Doctorate or PhD. Having an advanced degree made for an approximately 11% improvement in full time salary. Our mostly highly educated respondents earned US $118,000 on average compared to $106,000 for all full time working respondents combined.

People earning over US $250,000 -- the highest bracket in our survey -- were most likely to describe themselves as Presidents, Chairmen, CEOs or Principals (57%). Of all the other job role categories, none had more than one or two people in them who reported a salary at the US $250,000.

Who’s Making the Most and the Least

Profiles of the highest and lowest paid people were as follows: Those earning over US $250,000 were most likely to be male (76%), over 45 years of age and work in the Software/Technology industry (43%). They were most likely to be Presidents, Chairmen, CEOs or Principals (57%), have 20 or more years of experience in their field (62%) and work between 60-80 hours per week (52%).

Furthermore, they were most likely to be interested in Social Business, Collaboration or Intranets, and preferred online webinars, attending physical conferences and reading ebooks and whitepapers equally for professional development. Whatever people think about money and happiness, in our survey, they correlate quite high. Only one person in the select group of those making over US $250,000 said they disliked their job. Almost 70% said they really liked their job.

The lowest paid people (making less than US $30,000) were evenly split between males and females, but they were most likely to be aged between 25-34 years and work in the Software/Technology business (39%).

The types of jobs the lowest earners were likely to hold was evenly divided between two job role segments. 22% of the lowest paid respondents said they were Presidents, Chairmen, CEOs or Principals. 22% also said they were most likely to be interested in Web experience and Web CMS followed by Social Business, Collaboration and Intranets.

The other main job role segment the lowest paid people mentioned was IT, Programmers and Systems Analysts. They too were most likely to be interested in Web experience and Web CMS followed closely by Social Business, Collaboration and Intranets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those making the least amount of money in our survey were a bit more ambivalent about how they felt about those jobs. While only two people said they disliked their jobs, there were far more people who said they felt neutral. Just 58% said they liked or really liked their jobs, with fully 32% saying they were neutral.

Overall, the men in the CMSWire audience earned US $118,000 on average, compared to US $90,500 for women. That accounts for a 24% difference. Nationally, men averaged US $42,000, and women US $32,000, according to US Census data from 2005. This also accounts for around a 24% difference.

We hope this survey paints a thorough picture of CMSWire readers. There is quite a bit more analysis we could parse with the data if we had unlimited time in resources. Please do reach out via comment or social media about the survey, and tell us if there were any surprises in there for you