Lower bonuses for connectivity providers and content developers reflect an overall desire to have stronger base salaries in order for talent to have the security of guaranteed compensation. It is a balancing act for companies as they continue to prioritize pay equity and pay transparency while still facing economic headwinds.

Money Talks: C2HR Illustrates Shift in Compensation Packages
Reprinted from Cablefax Daily, February 12, 2024

If 2022 was the year to celebrate a return to in-person events, 2023 was the year of finding efficiency as companies move further away from the all-encompassing effects of the pandemic. The Content & Connectivity Human Resources Association (C2HR) revealed in its annual compensation survey that despite the economic troubles that many withstood throughout the year, connectivity providers and content developers are remaining agile in their strategies to strike the balance of bolstering employee pay while remaining disciplined financially.

A new year doesn’t mean the troubles will wash away though. The impacts of labor disruptions and softening markets are expected to stretch into 2024. While the overall survey—which included 13 connectivity providers and 38 content developers— showed salary adjustment budgets reached 3.8% for connectivity providers and 3.3% for content developers, industry merit increases are expected to average 3.4% for the former and 3.5% for the latter this upcoming year. That’s compared to a projected national average of 4.1%.

It brings forth an anticipated challenge for companies as they continue to prioritize pay equity and transparency. Approximately 88% of content developers list pay equity as one of the current most pressing issues as did 80% of connectivity providers. Pay transparency came in at 80% for connectivity companies and 71% for content creators, and DEI came in at 90% and 85%, respectively.

“I’ve been working with those industries for about 26 years and I feel like these are companies that are very, very smart about their business and have responded kind of remarkably quickly as the world outside them changed. You can see that through the ups and the downs of the pay and how they’re really fluid to that,” Hali Croner, President/CEO of The Croner Group, told CFX.

Compensation growth for connectivity providers remained stable in 2023. Management positions saw a 3.8% increase in actual total direct compensation (TDC), which includes base salary, bonuses and equity. Salaried positions saw a 3.1% improvement, but it was the sales category that had the highest TDC spike with an 11.1% jump.

It was a slightly different story for content developers. Compensation slowed down after a big year, with executives seeing the sharpest fall with 2.6% average TDC growth compared to 11.6% recorded in 2022. Middle management positions came in at an increase of 3.8%—down from 7.3% in 2022— whereas professional non-manager individual contributors (IC) and operating IC/support had 5.2% and 3.7% improvements, respectively.

As the competition to attract and retain talent remains ripe, the way those compensation packages are being constructed is shifting. This past year saw connectivity providers and content developers lag when it comes to bonuses, which Croner says reflects an overall desire to have stronger base salaries in order for talent to have that security of guaranteed compensation.

Nearly every job level across connectivity and content companies saw mean bonuses paid fall below target, with the only improvement seen with senior support workers for connectivity providers. Actual total cash compensation for advertising sales positions with content creators fell 5.8%.

“There’s a lot of competition for talent still, so the pressures on base salaries still require you to grow them, even though [companies] don’t have all this money to do it because there’s headwinds,” Croner said. “But then places that have variable pay like bonuses where you may not have the kind of money you had as a company before, people had to be more conservative, so I think people put whatever resources they could into base salary to stay competitive and to attract and keep some people.

”Some job categories saw bigger compensation increases than others. Customer care positions recorded the largest pay increases at connectivity providers for the third year in a row due to competitive pressures for call center employees and the ability to work remotely amid a tight labor pool. Software engineers, a routine “hot job” for providers, also saw raises with associate software engineers leading the way with an increase of 13%.

Content librarians had the largest raise in base pay for the survey with a 19% boost. Market and audience research positions also had substantial boosts with managers having compensation increase by 13%, senior research analysts by11% and senior research directors by 9%.

“Many organizations right now are working on articulating the career paths, so that they could say ‘You’re in this role today. Here’s the next role and the range for it. Here are the five things you need to do to get there,” Croner said. “If you know you’re getting training that’s getting you ready for promotion or ready for your next job outside, then that’s often when people stay.”




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