What should intranet jobs pay?

In follow up to our last post, what does your intranet job title mean (which you can fill in a survey and let us know), Intranetizen is taking a look at the salaries intranet specialists receive and where they should really be. Here in London, the jobs market certainly seems to be picking up, but it is the same for other cities, countries or even regions? The Financial Times reported last week that a record drop in the availability of permanent candidates, combined with a rise in job vacancies, is pushing up starting salaries.

Yet this doesn’t seem to be the case for intranet jobs. Looking at the data for job ads posted online, salaries remain flat for the third year in a row at an average of £39,500, even as intranets and intranet roles get more complex.

Take, for example, an approach we had recently from a recruiter on LinkedIn. The job asked for experience of Sharepoint 2010 and 2013, a track record delivering an enterprise social network in a large organisation, the ability to lead a team and manage stakeholders, and much else besides. And it was offering pretty much exactly the average intranet salary – £40k.

Do more skills mean more pay?

Looking at the data, intranet salaries compare badly with other digital communications and IT occupations. The salaries for social network manager, social media strategist, Sharepoint expert, Sharepoint specialist, and project manager are all, individually, higher than £40k. So surely someone who combines all of those skills should be paid exponentially more?

The answer, on the face of it, is of course yes but reality says something altogether different. If the intranet community is appropriately paid their worth, then organisations will attract and retain the right people, which will ultimately be better for the bottom line. So how do we make the case for better remuneration for intranet pros?

Intranetizen’s top 5 tips for securing better pay

1) Prove the value of what we do

What businesses are prepared to spend on the people who manage their intranet is directly correlated to how much the value the intranet itself, so if we’re to get the compensation we deserve, we need to prove the value of what we deliver. This means you need to position your intranet from a push communications channel to one delivering tangible, and ideally cashable business benefit. If you don’t already know find out what activities cannot be completed if the intranet is unavailable and really focus on the intranet’s role in business successes.

2) Demonstrate the breadth of your skill-set

Job titles never really capture the skills or range of responsibility (that is why we are doing a survey to find out more) intranet people possess. It is your duty to profile your skills, to keep your job description up to date, and to re-evaluate your job title whenever the scope of your job changes. Never underestimate the power of detailing everything you do in your job description. That little document is more powerful then you think.

3) Negotiate

Research. Let us say this again – research! Not only do you need to research your market value outside of your organisation but you need to research your value within. When researching internally, locate similarly skilled colleagues who may manage the same size of team, have the same breadth of responsibility, and embody specialist skills and request your salary to be compared, in confidence, to their salary.  A smart tactic is to provide HR and your line manager the salary trends for all the skill sets you possess, especially given digital workplace roles need to be  so diverse.

4) Be prepared to move jobs

If you’re not getting a good deal in your current role, shop around – your best chance at getting a significant  pay rise is usually when you move companies, particularly if you move to a higher-paid industry. A competing job offer can also be a good negotiating tactic with your existing employer, though if you are motivated to move sometimes it is better to look ahead then to stay where you are.

5) Look at future potential

The only reason to be paid more is because you will deliver more in the future. Don’t focus on your past achievements or your personal situation. Focus on what you can do and what your future plans are for your position and the organisation.  


There are 7 comments

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  1. Martin White

    I’ll dodge the salary issues, though thank you for raising them. You also raise the issue about finding another position. Having been involved in sitting in on intranet manager recruitment sessions for clients, I have been struck by how few people have thought through how they are going to get around the problems of demonstrating their skills without being able to show screen shots from their current intranet and from one or more earlier versions before they came on board and transformed it without breaching confidentiality about their current employer’s business.

    If you want to move out and up now is the time to start thinking about the questions you might get asked and how you will respond to them.

    • @sharonodea

      Thanks for commenting, Martin. This post has been brewing a while, as all four of us are regularly baffled by the disparity between the lengthy requirements listed in job ads and the relatively small salaries offered.

      I was talking to a recruitment consultant recently who said it was a fairly regular occurrence for them to get a job in requiring experience rolling out a full enterprise social network, plus knowledge of one or more versions of Sharepoint, and team and sizeable budget management – and expecting to get someone for c. £35k.

      The number of people who have led a full rollout of an enterprise social network in the UK is probably in the mid three figures; the number who have done so for a large, blue-chip organisation very small indeed. So in theory, the supply of experienced candidates isn’t that big, while the market for their skills is growing. Yet somehow, this isn’t translating into salaries offered. Why is that? To my mind it”s because organisations don’t really value their intranets, and in turn the people who work on them.

      But we know that intranet can deliver real value. It’s up to all of us to demonstrate that value. Because while intranet jobs remain undervalued compared to externally-facing web jobs, career paths for intranet pros will remain limited, and we’ll continue to see the best web, comms and IT talent choosing to move away from intranets to advance their careers.

  2. Peter Richards

    I came across
    This Job Advertisement this morning. A
    Permanent position in London for a Internet and Group Intranet Content Manager.
    Salary range of £50000 – £60000. That’s $90600 to $108700 in Australian Dollars.
    I think that is about right for an Intranet specialist with 5 to 10 years
    experience in large organisations.

    • @sharonodea

      We’re not suggesting that all intranet jobs pay the same – some, like this one, pay better (reflecting the fact financial services is a higher-paying industry), while others pay substantially less.

      What we’re often surprised about is the number of intranet roles we see asking for far more experience than this ad does – content and technical skills combined – yet don’t seem to reflect that in the salary, and compare badly to other tech and external web roles. Is that because companies don’t value their intranet as highly? Probably.

      • Peter Richards

        I think the key difference in the advertisement I shared is that the role covers both Internet and Intranet. My current role is responsible for both. Pros include the increased remuneration, continually learning new skills and a broader range of job opportunities. There are some big cons though like not being able to dedicate enough time and effort into the Intranet as you would like and the workload is enormous. I still love my job though 🙂

  3. Martin White

    A topic that has not yet been touched on is ‘grading’. Especially in larger companies everyone has to fit into a grade in terms of skills and experience, cf salary and benefits. Many years ago I was working on the IMF intranet. We made some fairly radical proposals, all of which were accepted other than re-grading the intranet contributors. That was because the mechanism for doing so was complex and might have had implications for other grades.

    I’ve come across a couple of examples in the last year where the organisation was hunting for a replacement intranet manager. The incumbent, who was moving on, had a low grade because it had been seen as a clerical job. In both cases it took a lot of persuasion to convince HR that the job now required a much higher level of skills and should be re-graded.

    Incidentally there is a similar issue starting to arise with search managers.

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