Team Management

Compensation Trends in Marketing: How to Ensure You’re Competitive

Today’s labor market is tight, especially for top marketing talent. Here’s how to make sure your compensation is competitive.

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With a thriving economy, many companies are finding it a challenge to recruit top talent. While many areas matter, from flexible work arrangements to the potential for growth, a candidate’s decision often comes down to compensation. How can you ensure that your compensation is on par for candidates? Here’s a closer look at how to evaluate your compensation if you’re struggling to recruit or preparing to scale up your workforce.

Conduct an internal assessment: The first step in looking at whether your compensation is competitive is to take stock. Create a matrix that outlines all your positions and their respective compensation ranges. Look closely at where issues like merit increases, length of service, and other factors may be influencing the pay scale. Try to develop a holistic picture of where your current salary ranges stand. To put this in context, also determine how long it has been since you’ve updated these ranges.

Compare your results to the market: Gather comparable market data from a company or site that specializes in this area. Look for comparable data in your geographic market, company size, and industry. Companies in rural Maine may pay less than urban San Francisco. Certain industries may be on the cutting edge and pay more—others less. Comparable data are only useful when they accurately mirror your business model.

Analyze your gaps: How are you positioned vis-à-vis the market? In some cases, you may find that it’s important to upgrade compensation across the board. In others, you may find that certain levels of service, such as executives or junior talent, merit revisiting. By putting together a plan of action, you can identify the most critical gaps and create a road map toward making compensation a competitive advantage.

Evaluate other compensation: While many organizations will try to sell a low salary based on the strength of their reputation or benefits package, that’s not a winning solution in a tight market. However, once you’ve determined that your core compensation is on par with the market, these additional areas can help you stand out. What benefits do you offer? Do you reimburse for education, match 401(k), or offer commuting incentives? Other areas such as expense accounts, travel allowances, and professional development budgets can also be assets. Quantify these benefits and use them in your recruiting discussions.

If you’re having a tough time recruiting talent—or you’re preparing to scale up and want to attract the best—it’s important that your compensation be competitive. By understanding the model you’ve laid out and making adjustments in line with the industry, your organization will be able to attract the talent it needs to achieve its biggest goals.