What Data Shows About the Continued Importance of SEO Managers

December 20, 2019

SEO Managers

Editor's Note: This guest post was contributed by Eli Schwartz, a Growth Advisor and SEO Strategic Consultant. 

Over the last year I noticed that the velocity of inbound recruiters pinging me about SEO roles had been increasing. I was curious whether there are actually more SEO roles or if am I just “lucky.” To understand the total landscape a bit more I turned to LinkedIn Sales Navigator to do some deeper research on what recruiters are looking for and who might be qualified for these roles. 

Most of this post will be just facts and figures which underscore my gut hypothesis that there is suddenly a newfound interest in SEO and the labor market is tight. 

Note: all numerical research is for the United States only unless I specifically call out another location.

When I conducted my research, there were 47.5k job openings that match the keyword “SEO,” and on the flipside there are 909k people who match the same keyword. Taking these numbers at face value, this means that there is one job for every 20 people that match this keyword at the most broad level. 

To get a sense of the context of this ratio, I looked at the same metrics for some other job roles.

For “software engineers” the ratio is 10:1. 

For product managers, the ratio is 30:1.

For designers, the ratio is 23:1

With these numbers as a baseline, SEO appears to be high in-demand but not as in-demand as software which isn’t surprising. However, SEO is a very general keyword that could match anyone who remotely has anything to do with search engine optimization, and in reality the ratio could be even lower. 

Again using Sales Navigator, I broke down the people in the SEO category even further. First off, of the 909k people who matched SEO, only 26.5k had the words “SEO” in their title. Digging into just this subgroup, the results were quite fascinating:

  • 1,166 changed jobs in the last 90 days which a turnover ratio of 4%

Job role

  • 8,588 work in marketing and advertising
  • 3,677 work in internet
  • 2,002 work in information technology
  • 1,054 computer software
  • 806 writing and editing

Function

The majority of these people (24k) work in marketing with the rest (1.6k) working under engineering.

Company size

The bulk of people are at smaller companies:

  • 864 are self employed
  • 4,347  work in companies with 1-10 employees
  • 4,954  work in companies with 11-50 employees
  • 3,256  work in companies with 51-200 employees
  • 1,801  work in companies with 201-500 employees
  • 1,077  work in companies with 501-1000 employees
  • 1,837  work in companies with 1001 – 5000 employees
  • 611  work in companies with 5001-10,000 employees
  • 1,836  work in companies with more than 10,000 employees

I found the data around seniority and years of experience to be the most fascinating and where there is a real mismatch between hiring managers and the labor market. 

Seniority

  • Owner: 2,265
  • Director: 2,138
  • Manager: 1,405
  • Senior: 11,611
  • Entry: 16,081

 

While the prior data is titles which might not always align with skills, the years of experience actually requires passage of time. (I excluded people without a year of experience).

Years of experience

  • 6,550 have 1-3 years of experience
  • 3,956 have 3-5 years of experience
  • 4,862 have 6 -10 years of experience
  • 3,731 have 10+ years of experience

Looking back at what recruiters are looking for, 12k of the current job openings want someone “mid-senior” level and above. Even if we assumed that anyone with three years of experience might meet that bar, the ratio of qualified candidates (based on the numbers above) to job openings is essentially 1:1! 

With this data in hand, this would definitely explain an uptick in demand for SEO. 

Here are some other interesting findings that came up from this research:

  • There are 5k people that have the title of SEO in California
    • Only 1,400 are in the Bay Area
    • There are 1,065 job openings in Bay Area!
  • There are 3k people in NYC that have the title of SEO 
    • There are 1,700 job openings
  • Here are some other U.S. states and their population of people with SEO in their title:
    • Texas: 1,700
    • Florida: 2k
    • Illinois: 972
    • Washington:426
  • Internationally, here is the breakdown of people with SEO in their title
    • 8k in the UK
    • 8k in Pakistan
    • 57k in India
    • 4k in Spain

In short if you are looking for an SEO role and have experience, this is a sellers' market. Know who your competition might and definitely don’t underprice yourself.

If you are looking to hire for SEO, you are up against many other companies that suddenly have the same need to fill a role. Prepare to break out all your tricks to recruit skilled SEO managers to your team.

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