BrandPit has conducted its annual benchmark research again. Also this year it can be seen that the labor market is moving fast: the interim market is still booming, but there is also plenty of ‘movement’ in permanent jobs.
First, some market figures. The labor force increased through the last quarter of 2022. Of the 9.6 million people aged 15 to 75 who had paid work in the third quarter of 2022, 1 million worked for their main income as self-employed. The number of self-employed compared to the same quarter in 2021 increased significantly by 125 thousand (source: CBS). Therefore, the flow from employee to self-employed was greater than the flow the other way around. Commerce and IT are among the sectors that are showing strong growth.
With the benchmark, we take a closer look at the digital domain and especially at remuneration. The benchmark was conducted in the first quarter of 2023 among professionals in BrandPit’s network. The group consists mainly of more senior professionals with 8 years of work experience or more. The results were compared with those from 2022.
disciplines: most in demand for product owners
Looking at the content disciplines, we see that product owners are unstoppable. They have been the most favored group at all levels in recent years. Generic e-commerce roles are experiencing a decline, while specialty roles are showing a small increase. The big change is on the content and social side. A big rise for these specialists compared to 2022!
We see that the middle management layer (e-commerce manager, online marketing manager, etc) is also less in demand and more or less giving room to heavier specialists. In contrast, the more generic manager (CX manager or marketing manager) is gaining ground and taking over the task of managing a fragmented and specialized field of work
Permanent jobs: content over salary
Changing jobs is becoming more and more about being a good employer. The career ladder and salary follow closely behind. An interesting development. What does an organization stand for as an employer? How important are you to an organization? Another form of appreciation cries out for attention. A form that is much less harsh, covers a much broader spectrum and thus enables it to appeal to a broad audience within a labor market. A secret recipe, as many organizations still make too little use of it.
The discrepancy between supply and demand in that regard is increasing this year. The awareness of professionals is growing and the text “I want to do more than just selling more items” is an often expressed desire. It’s a matter of time because money, especially for the generations new to the job market and the ones working around 5 years, has a different value than for their predecessors from the >’85s.
Half of all respondents work 40 hours, the other half are neatly split between a 32-hour and a 36-hour work week, and with few exceptions everyone is allowed to work hybrid hours, with 50% working at home and 50% working in the office being preferred. When asked if interim and permanent are combined, all but one exception remained silent.
Compared to 2022, we see an increase in the salary category €50-€60K and the categories from €90K and above. The categories above €100K increase on average by 5%. The mid-range, with a salary of €60-€90K and 5-8 years of experience in a discipline, actually decreases in representation.
The question arises whether this is because people are experiencing accelerated growth within the digital realm? Or because technology demands a lot of attention from organizations? The starting salary within digital is undeniably higher than average in the market with an average of 25%!!!! (source: RTL News).
Compared to 2022, we are all happy with our salaries. Over 60% give an 8 or a 9 as a grade, compared to a 7 in the previous year. Quite an improvement, in other words.
Bonus remains focused primarily on performance; the hard numbers with a division between personal contribution and company results.
chart: discipline x years of work experience in discipline x average gross annual salary
Please note that all salaries are an indication from our network from different industries. It is an ‘as of’ indication unless otherwise indicated.
freelance: making impact increasingly important
The digital domain is also characterized by an increase in freelance candidates. Within our practice, this movement is confirmed. However, that movement is also the other way around: not everyone finds the hourly rate outweighs the hassle of entrepreneurship.
Among freelancers, we see that more than half of the respondents work 32 hours. This is followed by 36- and 40-hour work weeks. Again, with few exceptions, all may work hybrid. In addition, we see that the lead time of assignments has increased by an average of 6-12 months.
It turns out that the hourly rate is quite flexible. On the whole, the content of the assignment, duration of the assignment and type of organization remain the most important factors determining the amount. Besides the hourly rate, these are also the most important arguments for accepting an assignment. Although the extent to which impact can be made is increasingly determining whether an assignment is attractive.
Regarding the level of the hourly rate, there is a big change. The professionals who charge €90-€110 euro per hour are compared to last year much more. Last year they charged €80-€100 euros per hour, so this is a good inflation correction. Almost half of the freelancers in our population are in this category. This group is mainly in the senior category up to 12 years of work experience.
The rate increase is further reflected in the size of the category charging €110-€120. The largest increase is seen in the group that charges more than €120 per hour. This group has doubled and represents a seniority level from 13 years and above. It is particularly managerial roles that qualify. Where such rates were exceptional, they are increasingly common. From our experience, this is 1-to-1 linked to the content of the assignment. Many professionals in leadership positions within strategy or digital transitions fall within this category.
chart: disciplines x years of work experience in discipline x average hourly rate
Please note that all rates are an indication from our network, from different industries. It is an ‘as of’ indication unless otherwise indicated.
Rates continue to rise due to market forces. The demand for people within the tech/digital domain continues to increase and starting salaries are higher than ever. For several years in a row, product owners remain the most in-demand professionals in the digital domain. For good reason, as they are often the drivers of digital transition. They are the fantastic interpreters of how digital and tech impact the offline world and how this can create great innovation.
What is noticeable is that the role of product owner is not always “hung up” in the right way in the organization (with IT instead of on the business side) and that it frequently happens that the product owner is not in the methodical context of agile. There is a danger that the value of the product owner is not always properly assessed
Salary is not the most important factor in taking a job or assignment. Context often takes precedence over pay; people want to make an impact. Companies can no longer just arrive with good working conditions; it’s about being a good employer. Giving people trust and autonomy, allowing them to do meaningful work and creating a work atmosphere where everyone can be themselves. This is becoming increasingly important. A successful HR policy regarding retention and development of current employees is therefore also becoming increasingly important and is also receiving more and more attention, in addition to a good benefits package.
If we, as people, determine the success of an organization, we should approach the subject of “people” as an organizational issue rather than a headcount problem. That way you stay close to the people almost as a matter of course and can respond in a timely manner to what is important to them. That job market is not going to change anytime soon, so organizations may have to do something (source: the Purple People).