By Ted McEnroe, Head of Research at The Community Roundtable
As you may have heard, The Community Roundtable’s Community Careers and Compensation survey is out now. The survey is one of our key pieces of research each year – a compilation of the skills, roles, responsibilities and yes, salaries of community professionals from moderators and community specialists to community managers, strategists, Directors and Vice Presidents of Community.
It’s data with a lot of value to community professionals and those who hire and manage them. It’s data that many people want to get, but sometimes don’t want to give. We get it. It’s personal stuff – and for that reason, we treat this data very carefully. TheCR research team doesn’t share it with anyone else, even others on The Community Roundtable team.
But just like our other major research platform, The State of Community Management, it’s critically important to furthering the work we do as community professionals and educating others in the power and importance of community.
So here are five reasons you should share your data with us.
Other people are making way more than you. Let’s start with shameless self interest. Your contributions to the data may very well demonstrate that you make a lot less than others who do your job – in other places, in other industries, and other use cases. But without your data, we don’t get the statistical evidence we need to make the comparisons you can use for the next time around.
You make more than others in your position. You have a hard job. So do other community managers. But you don’t want to go into your next salary conversation with data that shows other people with your title make way less than you. You want to be able to show that your direct reports, community use case, and industry matter – and justify your current and future pay. But if we don’t get the data, we can’t segment the data enough to show that. So you will be stuck justifying why your salary is higher than the average across all industries or geographies, when that may be an unfair comparison.
You’ve got mad skillz. One of the lessons of last year’s survey was that people with the same job title often had different skills and responsibilities. This year’s survey asks you what skills are most important for your job – and you’ll be able to compare what you do with what those in your position are doing. You may find you’ve outgrown the title you have, or discover some things that your peers are doing you may want to jump on.
You have untapped potential. Many of the questions in the survey feed your aspirations. We ask the areas in which you most desire training – which will inform not only programming within our own Community of Practice, but can serve as fodder for others, ideas for sharing resources and building informal networks, as well. You’ll also be able to see what skills those who sit on the next rung of the ladder value, to give you a sense of where to grow to better prepare yourself in your career.
You are not a snowflake. You’re special, don’t get me wrong. But just as we have seen there are artifacts and elements that consistently appear in successful communities, there are those skills and backgrounds that correlate with success as a community manager. Maybe, depending on the data, we’ll be able to see skills and backgrounds that correlate with higher salaries. But in order to do that we need to know your skills and your salary.
…And one more, if you’re in charge. If you manage a community team, we have a sixth reason for you. Sharing your information, and getting your team to share theirs as well, feeds your ability to use our skills framework to evaluate your team – and work with HR and others to create job descriptions and compensation for new hires that is rationalized and reasonable, which will help you hire.
Telling someone you don’t know about your work can be uncomfortable, and we don’t ask these questions lightly. If you have issues with sharing personal information, I want to work with you to either make you more comfortable or come up with a plan that makes you comfortable. It’s why we started asking for salary ranges this year instead of exact figures. It’s why we’re happy with you putting down the nearest metro if you don’t want to put down your specific location. We’re OK with not getting your name as long as you give us a valid email. (By the way, we do separate that stuff from your data in the database we work with.)
In the end, we think the value of the data is worth the ask. We hope you do, too. And don’t hesitate to email me with your questions and concerns.