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SEMPO Launches 2nd Annual In-House Salary Survey for Search Engine Marketers

Survey Will Gauge Effect of Economic Slowdown on SEM Salaries and Jobs

Wakefield, MA, January 12, 2009 – Is the economy having a severe impact on compensation for search engine marketers or is the SEM profession weathering the storm better than other sectors?  That is one of the critical questions the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO),, plans to answer with the launch of its 2nd Annual In-House SEM salary survey.  

The 22-question survey is open to all in-house search engine marketing professionals, whether they work in organic and/or paid search positions .  Membership in SEMPO is not required to participate. All responses are anonymous. The survey will run until February 20 with results expected to be announced in March.

"Search marketing is not the Wild West of four years ago.  Companies are getting pickier about hiring SEM professionals but we believe online marketing remains a healthy job sector.  The survey results will give us insights into the hiring climate within organizations and any effect the economic change has had on compensation,” says Duane Forrester, co-chair of SEMPO’s In-House SEM Committee and Senior Program Manager – SEO, Microsoft, Inc.

"We encourage all in-house search engine marketers to participate in the salary survey.  It’s the best method of getting a clear picture of changes in compensation and a sense of what to expect in 2009,” says Forrester.

Survey data to be collected includes salary ranges of SEM jobs, from entry level to executive; salary variations by geographic markets, the total compensation package beyond salaries, such as bonuses, benefits and perks; changes in SEM staffing levels within enterprises, and in SEM budgets.

Forrester says he expects 2009 to be a decidedly different hiring climate with more due diligence occurring before hiring decisions are made.  "Most likely, there will be fewer high level professional jobs and more lower level openings so it will present opportunities for entry level professionals to prove their worth.”   Experience plus sound training will give entrants a competitive edge, says Forrester.  "The SEMPO Institute’s fundamentals and advanced SEM courses,, are a great way to move an applicant to the top of a list.”

1st Annual Recap
SEMPO’s 1st Annual In-House Salary Survey showed search engine marketers receiving healthy salaries in line with their experience but salaries in the mid-to-high $100s to the $200K range still required five to seven years experience.  Another key finding was roughly one third of in-house SEMs were managing monthly budgets in excess of $200,000, a level that exceeded expectations. 

Other findings were:

  • Of those managing budgets greater than $200,000/month, 42.3% are managers, and within that group, 27% report salary ranges in excess of $100,000/year.
  • 39.4% of respondents managing monthly SEM budgets in excess of $200,000 report having 3 years of experience or less. 34.2% have between 3 and 5 years experience, and those with 5+ years of experience totaled 26.4%.
  • 42.6% of those managing budgets larger than $200,000/month do not manage staff. 92.9% are part of a dedicated "in-house” SEM team and 77.4% of those "teams” are considered to be part of their company’s Marketing departments.

About the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) 
SEMPO is a global non-profit organization serving the search engine marketing industry and marketing professionals engaged in it. Its purpose is to provide a foundation for industry growth through building stronger relationships, fostering awareness, providing education, promoting the industry, generating research, and creating a better understanding of search and its role in marketing. Representing thousands in over 30 countries, SEMPO has more than 850 members. It represents the common interests of companies and consultants worldwide and provides them with a voice in the marketplace. SEMPO’s education and outreach initiatives are funded in part by Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google,, ABC Search, SMX and Search Engine Strategies.


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