By Clare McDermott published June 30, 2017

Content Marketing Industry: What’s Happening in Hiring [Research]

content-marketing-industry-hiring-researchHiring a new member for your content marketing team seems like a great thing. After all, whether you’re expanding the team or replacing a departing employee, you’ll have more resources to execute a successful content marketing program.

But finding and attracting quality creative content team members is a job unto itself. It’s a challenge faced by 45% of advertising and marketing executives, according to a survey of 400 U.S. industry leaders by The Creative Group.

45% of ad & marketing execs are challenged by finding quality content team members. @CreativeGroup Click To Tweet

In this post, we dive deeper into the data about content marketing hiring. We will explore talent costs, regions with highest demand, and how companies work to retain employees.

Hot markets

Which U.S. cities have the greatest number of content marketing jobs? Here are the top 20 with the greatest number of content marketing jobs, according to Conductor’s Inbound Marketing Jobs Salary Guide 2017:

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Chicago
  4. Los Angeles
  5. Boston
  6. Seattle
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Atlanta
  9. Austin
  10. Dallas
  11. San Diego
  12. Houston
  13. Philadelphia
  14. Denver
  15. San Jose
  16. Miami
  17. Phoenix
  18. Minneapolis
  19. Charlotte
  20. Orlando

Compensation figures

Starting salaries for content jobs are on the rise, as reflected in The Creative Group 2017 Marketing Jobs Salary Guide:

Starting salaries for #contentmarketing roles are on the rise, says @CreativeGroup research. Click To Tweet

Screenshot 2017-06-19 21.42.50

Content skills in highest demand

Data analysis, and content writing and editing are the most important skills companies are looking to hire this year, according to 2016 Digital Content Survey, Altimeter, a Prophet company.

Data analysis & #content writing/editing are most important skills to hire for. @AltimeterGroup #research Click To Tweet

Here’s how respondents who were asked the four most important skills they were looking to hire in 2017 listed priorities:

  • Data analysis – 67%
  • Content editing and writing – 59%
  • Program/project management – 53%
  • Graphic design – 50%
  • Coding/development – 50%
  • Video production and editing – 47%
  • Marketing automation/software expertise – 42%
  • Social media expertise – 18%

Multiple talents needed in one role

Roles in content marketing blend creative, technology, and analytics so companies seek individuals with more than one area of expertise.

As the authors of The Creative Group 2017 Salary Guide wrote:

Hybrid professionals are in demand. Creatives with skills outside their specialty are highly marketable. In addition, digital proficiency is becoming a prerequisite for many traditional roles. For example, graphic designers now need to be familiar with web layouts or social media, and copywriters must have knowledge of search engine optimization. Expect this pattern to persist as cross-departmental collaboration becomes the norm.”

That insight is mirrored in Conductor’s Inbound Marketing Jobs Salary Guide 2017, which reveals almost one in two content jobs (46.7%) requires SEO skills. These roles include content marketing specialists, content managers, content directors, and marketing manager positions.

One in two #content jobs requires #SEO skills, according to @Conductor research. #hiring Click To Tweet
The New Era of the Hybrid Marketer

Employee retention

With content marketing talent in high demand, companies seek to reduce turnover. The Creative Group survey revealed that more than half of advertising and marketing executives (52%) said they are concerned about retaining their current creative staff in the next 12 months.

They also shared their talent-retention activities. Here are ones cited by at least half of the group:

  • Regularly evaluate performance and discuss career development – 78%
  • Regularly check in with employees to ensure that they are happy in their roles – 74%
  • Regularly benchmark compensation and benefits to ensure that you stay competitive – 71%
  • Have a formal retention strategy – 51%

Key content marketing roles

The Creative Group, an employment agency, reports that the following positions are fast becoming crucial assets on the marketing team.

Concept and Implementation

Creative technologist: Serves as a liaison between design and development teams; scopes digital projects

Digital project manager: Oversees the implementation of multimedia projects

Digital strategist: Develops user-experience (UX) strategies, including information design, online content strategy and lead generation tactics for web, mobile, email, social, and digital advertising media


Content strategist: Develops content strategy based on a company’s business objectives and end user’s needs

Writer: Composes clear, concise, and grammatically correct content using different writing styles that appeal to various target audiences


Digital/interactive marketing manager: Oversees the daily operation of a company’s website and email marketing program, and provides analytics review

Email marketing specialist: Runs email campaigns, including managing and segmenting contact lists using marketing automation software

Social media manager: Implements an organization’s social media strategy — developing brand awareness, generating inbound traffic, and encouraging product adoption


As you can well know, hiring and retaining creative talent is not an easy task. It requires a keen understanding of the marketplace – geographic, industry, skills – and a strategic approach to ensuring that you not only pick great talent but you also keep them engaged.

Research in this article is reprinted with permission of The Creative Group, Conductor, and Altimeter.

A version of this article originally appeared in the June issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bimonthly, print magazine.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Clare McDermott

Clare McDermott is the editor of Chief Content Officer magazine and owner of SoloPortfolio, a Boston-based content marketing provider for professional service firms. You can follow her @clare_mcd.

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  • Satish Veeramani

    thanks for sharing the useful content, this is something how SEO changed nowadays.
    thanks for sharing an interesting and meaningful article

  • Joseph Campo

    Good stuff. Are there any references you can provide about what companies create for a formal retention strategy? I’m curious about what such a strategy might include. Is it something like more vacation? sabbaticals? something else? tks.

  • Bob Sable

    Thanks for writing this article. Hybrid talents are definitely in demand. As a current job seeker (happy to see Seattle high on the list!), I’m finding that, in addition to SEO, many companies are also asking for HTML knowledge.

  • Lee Schlesinger

    Funny, I’m coming at it from the opposite end, as a job seeker, and I’m finding it hard to get an interview. I’ve got the hybrid content skills and experience – editor, writer, content marketing manager. I’m looking in many the hot urban areas – Austin, Boston, DC, others. Still, no job offers so far. I wish I could figure out where I’m going wrong.

    • Mark O’Keefe

      Lee, I feel your frustration. Was in a job transition several years ago, during a recession. I was 50. One thing I would recommend is a better photo. Sounds vain, but research shows it makes a big difference with recruiters. You might want to read some of the articles I wrote about this on LinkedIn. I got my current full-time job when a recruiter contacted me on LinkedIn. If I can brainstorm or help reach out to me on LinkedIn.

      • Lee Schlesinger

        Thanks for the suggestion, Mark. I changed my photo – we’ll hope for the best!