​The latest edition of our Digital Salary & Industry Insights report was released earlier this month and alongside employee salary figures, the report gathers information on employee perceptions of their employment, including how satisfied they are in their role, their willingness to move role, and what factors influence the decision to move.

Interestingly, the report found that marketers were the least satisfied of the sectors surveyed and below the report average (60% compared to 63%). Job satisfaction was also lower compared to last year’s findings which saw 64% of marketers satisfied in their role.

In a market peppered with marketers who are unsatisfied, what can businesses do in order to keep hold of their top talent?

Publishing is one industry that has arguably been most affected by digital surge, with digital becoming the primary consumption channel. But how does this affect publisher’s headcount turn over and ultimately, their growth? As the Rock, Paper, Glass report mentions ‘it’s not just the market that has changed, it’s the profession’.

Attracting and retaining talent

For publishers, ensuring they have the best talent has been crucial to their survival as digitally led businesses. Rather than competing with other publishers for this talent, however, they now have an entire world of competitors who are ready to snap up potential candidates, or lure away their existing teams.

Our report found that a new challenge coupled with a lack of development opportunity were important factors driving job change amongst digital professionals. With a constant wave of start-ups being launched, with great leaders, funding and most importantly, products, these businesses now pose the biggest threat to a publisher’s headcount, offering their staff promises of innovation, cutting edge tech and a hungry target market.

So what can publishers do to attract and retain the best marketers?

Publishers need to continue to embrace digitisation and there are some brilliant examples of publishers who have really invested in digital and transformed their businesses in order to keep hold of staff. Specialist publisher AutoTrader culled their print business in 2012 to focus on digital and continue to lead their field with 11 million monthly unique users. They’ve invested in technology, the best leadership teams and are committed to taking on the best talent. In return they really invest in their staff through training and upskilling and offer salaries and benefits that are more in line with industries outside of publishing – along with some of the most talked about offices!


There’s a new wave of publishers in the market, with the likes of Buzzfeed and Mashable developing UK based teams. These businesses, with their relevant and interesting content generation, slick websites and investment in understanding their audiences are an attractive option for marketers and digital professionals on the market.

There are pockets of the industry bucking the trend and in which publishers are actually really in demand, particularly Ad Operations. Many candidates are keen to move publisher side simply to have more control and also, job security. This is great for publishers, since the volume of Ad-Ops roles is continuing to grow alongside salaries at all levels as shown in our report.

Claire Wheeler is a Consultant on the Clientside Marketing team at Propel. She specialises in placing candidates into and from the publishing industry. Get in touch on claire.wheeler@propellondon.com if you’re keen to know more.