It’s a great time to be a community manager! Organizations big and small are beginning to recognize that managed communities can help transform organizations, making them more resilient in a digitally connected world.
Yet, while the discipline of community management is becoming better understood, the specific roles within the discipline are still often poorly defined, measured and rewarded. We know from our work with community practitioners that there is a huge range in experience, responsibilities and compensation among community managers – it is not a one size fits all discipline. We also know that many people still believe community management is mostly about updating Facebook and Twitter.
Quite to the contrary, we see community professionals playing a unique, strategic and under-valued role in evolving their organizations - helping them become more responsive, adaptive and innovative. Community professionals can be front line engagement specialists, and they can also play a critical strategic role in organizational transformation. At the same time, many community managers are frustrated by a lack of recognition, compensation and advancement opportunities - often epitomized by completely unrealistic job descriptions.
Our mission at The Community Roundtable is to advance the business of community and research has always played an integral part of that – helping people understand the dynamics and management approaches that build successful communities. We’ve made great strides at the macro level with our State of Community Management research and our Community Maturity Model framework, but we needed to apply the same research approach to the role of the individual community professional. With that in mind, we undertook our inaugural Community Manager Salary Survey, made possible with support from Jive.
This research documents the roles, skills, responsibilities, compensation, evaluation and professional development opportunities of over 350 individuals in the community space today.
What we found was enlightening:
- Community professionals on average have 13 years of work experience, suggesting that while entry level jobs exist, they by no means represent the average community professional
- Community job descriptions are poorly rationalized between experience required, responsibilities and compensation - making it challenging for organizations to hire and hard for community professionals to find challenging and exciting roles that won’t burn them out.
- Less than one-third of community professionals find jobs through traditional job postings, making the career path opaque and hard to navigate.
- Community executive roles are increasing, suggesting that community programs are growing in strategic importance as organizations understand the value they generate
Most notably, along with the research findings, we developed the Community Management Skills Framework, included here. This framework helps individuals, managers and organizations understand the scope of community management roles and the specific priorities of each through the four skill families found within community management:
- People and engagement skills
- Content development skills
- Strategic and business skills
- Technical skills
The full report helps answer the following questions:
- What is the role of a community manager, community strategist or director of community?
- How to define or refine the role to be more realistic for one person?
- How to bring compensation in line with responsibilities?
- What is a good starting point for building a job description?
- How to help the HR team define standard job categories and descriptions?
We hope you’ll download this research and use it as a springboard for discussing these issues in your organization, and in the broader field of community.
Additionally, if you are looking to enhance your own skills in community management, Jive and The Community Roundtable have partnered to offer both internally- and externally-focused professionals training on community management fundamentals. This is a fantastic resource that provides short video tutorials combined with actionable worksheets - you can access both courses here Jive User & Community Manager Training.