C2HR Surveys Show Pandemic Continues to Impact Pay
Content Execs Score Big Raises; Customer Care, Hourly and Sales Also Rewarded
NAPERVILLE, ILL., February 14, 2023 – The Content & Connectivity Human Resources (C2HR) Association’s annual Compensation Surveys revealed that pay at content developers rose substantially across all employee levels in 2022, with executives achieving the largest gains. Among connectivity providers, pay growth was modest; however, hourly and sales positions achieved strong increases.
The surveys showed that content developers remunerated critical jobs in news, program scheduling and audience research with substantial pay raises – two to three times the national average. Customer care reps with an aptitude for engaging and retaining customers garnered similar increases at connectivity companies.
These findings reflect the shifting post-COVID landscape. Live experiences became more important, streaming content became more crowded and rising inflation caused consumers to scrutinize their services for not only the best value but also for the content most engaging to them.
“Against this dynamic backdrop, industry employers continued their nimble practice of rewarding those employees most essential to business growth and revenue generation,” commented Parthavi Das, C2HR’s executive director. “C2HR’s Compensation Surveys pinpointed those vital positions and provided participants with data essential to offer competitive and equitable compensation.”
Salary Adjustment Budgets Rose in 2022
Although not quite on track with the national average of 4.1%, content developer salary adjustment budgets rose a full percentage point, to 3.6%, in 2022, with 2023 budgets expected to remain at 3.6%. At connectivity companies, 2022 salary adjustment budgets also rose to 3.6% (from 3% in 2021) and are projected to increase to 3.8% in 2023.
“Industry consolidation and anticipated cost-cutting measures in the face of inflation may be responsible for the flattening of salary budgets in 2023,” said Hali Croner, president and chief executive officer of The Croner Company, the research and compensation consulting firm that conducted the surveys for C2HR.
Robust Pay Growth for Content Developers
In 2022, content employees at all levels accrued substantial compensation increases. Executives
achieved the largest gains, with total direct compensation (TDC) rising 11.6%, in stark contrast to 2021,
when executive TDC increased only 2% as many executives deferred pay increases during the height of
the COVID-19 pandemic. (See Figure 1)
“We saw bigger bonuses for executives in 2022 as content developers rewarded executives for
navigating their companies through hard times,” explained Croner
In addition, middle management achieved 7.3% average TDC bumps, up from 2.1% in 2021; professional individual contributors (ICs) (non-managers) 5.3%, up from 3.3%; and operating IC/support personnel 6% TDC, up from 4.4% in 2021. TDC includes base salary, bonus and stock incentives.
Modest Pay Raises for Connectivity Providers
As schools resumed in-person learning and businesses reopened, the huge demand for broadband services to support telework and telelearning slowed. In conjunction, pay increases for connectivity employees also slackened. Connectivity management accrued 2.7% average TDC increases, down from 6.3% in 2021. Salaried employees achieved 3.3% TDC gains, versus 4.2% in 2021; hourly 4.1% TDC, down from 5.9%; and sales 5.3%, down from 6.3% in 2021. (See Figure 2)
“C2HR’s Compensation Surveys reflect the changing marketplace,” said Das. “In 2021, we saw connectivity employees thrive as they valiantly met the challenges of a nation pivoting to remote work and at-home learning for school children, while in 2022, we saw pay for content developers rebound as studios reopened and competition for viewers intensified,” she added.
Customer Retention Skills Rewarded
Against the backdrop of inflation, connectivity providers’ longstanding practice of supplying a living wage by raising pay for hourly workers grew ever more critical. Base salary for entry level hourly positions rose 7.5% in 2022, while journey positions garnered 6.2% gains, senior 3.8%, and hourly lead jobs 1.9% in 2022.
“It was gratifying to see more companies have joined the efforts to implement greater pay for hourly and sales positions. This seems to indicate that companies are realizing the importance and are more willing to invest in their employees to attract but then retain frontline talent,” said Nick Dunlap, vice president of executive compensation, Charter Communications.
That competitive pressure for workers – from companies like Netflix and behemoth online retailers like Walmart – drove dramatic compensation increases in 2022 for employees who interface with customers. In addition, job opportunities are extensive for call center employees, as many companies no longer limit their recruiting efforts to a specific location and now offer full-time remote positions
The 14 survey participants, which included multiple system operators, satellite providers and home security companies, representing 126,300 employees, reported pay raises ranging from 5% for expert Customer Care Tech Support Rep 3 to 10% for workers just beginning their careers in the same job series, Customer Care Tech Support Rep 1. Further, survey participants recognized the value of employees skilled at keeping wayward customers and rewarded Customer Care Retention Rep 2 with a whopping 14% pay bump. (See Figure 3)
Regarding customer care retention representatives: “Those employees have the skills that everyone is looking for,” added Croner. “Not only can they work the computer screens, but they can also engage with customers on chat or on the phone,” ultimately offering a service package that keeps revenues flowing, she explained.
Content Curation in High Demand
As content choices exploded across a plethora of platforms and streaming services in 2022, employees possessing the aptitude and intuition to engage wandering consumer interest reaped the largest content pay increases. The C2HR’s 2022 Content Developers Survey showed that in the news division, those working the assignment desk achieved raises ranging from 13% for news assignment editor to 6% for manager of content or news editorial. Talented news producers scored even larger compensation gains – 15% for news production assistants and 10% for both associate and senior news producers. (See Figure 4)
Meanwhile in the entertainment division, those skilled at slicing and dicing all that content to create schedules that attract and maintain viewer interest also accrued compensation increases well above 2022 salary budgets. Program schedulers harnessed 11% bumps in pay, nearly three times the merit increase. Similarly, manager, senior, and senior vice president of program scheduling all captured 8% salary increases. Select market/audience research positions captured 10% raises, and creative design talent accrued 9% increases. (See Figure 4)
C2HR’s annual surveys enable participants to keep ahead of these types of compensation increases. “Because of all of our production jobs at FOX News and FOX Sports, we use the survey data nonstop,” said Kristin Cicciari, senior vice president of compensation for FOX Corporation. “The large sample size allows us to pull survey matches directly. It’s great. We use it daily as a guide post for compensation recommendations.”
Forty-two content developers, employing 34,394 workers and representing a mix of cable programmers, television and satellite radio broadcasters, and digital content creators participated in C2HR’s 2022 Compensation Survey.
“C2HR’s survey captures a far greater portion of the entertainment market than the other survey houses,” Cicciari added. Such deep participation by the industry increases the data’s usefulness, she said.
Most Bonuses at or Above Target
2022 was a good year for bonuses among both content and connectivity survey participants as 75% of bonuses paid were at or above target. Connectivity providers’ average bonus compared to target was 111% (company weighted); content developers’ average bonus, 108%. Most employees reaped these financial rewards as bonus eligibility remained broad-based among respondents. At connectivity companies, 93% offered bonuses with 100% of managers, directors, vice presidents, and executives eligible. These companies also offered bonuses to 62% of ICs and 54% of support personnel. Bonus eligibility was slightly less at content developers, with 90% offering broad-based cash rewards. Eligibility included: 100% executives, 95% vice presidents, 92% directors, 79% managers, 50% ICs, 37% support personnel.
Stock Incentives Limited to Management
Unlike their digital competitors, long-term incentives (LTIs) eligibility remained limited to upper management – with a few exceptions. Among C2HR’s 2022 Compensation Survey participants, 86% of connectivity providers offered LTIs with eligibility as follows: 100% C-level; 92% executive management; 92% vice presidents; 92% directors; 42% managers; 8 percent ICs; 0% support. Meanwhile, 79% of content developer respondents offered LTIs, with eligibility as follows: 100% C-Level; 100% executive management; 82% vice presidents; 55% directors; 12% managers; 9% ICs; 9% support.
“On any given day, we refer to the survey to help us benchmark a role that we are trying to hire or promote someone into,” said Scott Hayes, vice president of executive and equity compensation, Warner Bros. Discovery. “We also use it to ensure that the incentive components of our compensation remain competitive.”
Keeping the Surveys Relevant
C2HR’s Compensation Surveys are unique in that they include the majority of the industry – 56 participants, 160,694 incumbents, and 1,340 job titles. In addition, a planning board meets annually to hone the surveys position titles and questions to ensure they stay ahead of marketplace changes.
As a result of this planning, in 2022, the Content Developers Survey added three new job families: growth marketing, recruiting and compliance, and 28 new positions. The Connectivity Providers Survey also added three new job families: recruiting, technical recruiting, and systems administration and 29 new positions.
C2HR’s 2022 Compensation Surveys included 56 participants. Companies included 14 connectivity providers and 42 content developers (see the attached 2022 participant list). The survey results are industry-specific, providing an in-depth analysis of pay practices for roughly 126,300 connectivity employees and 34,394 content workers, including both exempt and nonexempt positions ranging from technicians to top executives. The participants submitted data reflecting 2022 budgets, base compensation figures, bonuses and incentives.
Content & Connectivity Human Resources (C2HR) is a professional association serving 4,800 members from 50 companies spanning the technology, media and entertainment sectors. C2HR provides industry-specific analytics, information and resources, as well as networking and educational opportunities. Its groundbreaking initiatives include the Annual C2HR
Compensation Surveys and C2HR CON. For more information, visit www.C2HR.org.
2022 Content Developers Survey
Participants A+E Networks
Altice USA Inc.
Amazon.com Inc. Reporting for: Amazon Prime Video AMC Networks Inc.
BBC Studios Americas Inc.
Charter Communications Inc.
Chicken Soup for the Soul LLC DIRECTV LLC
Disney General Entertainment Content
Reporting for: ABC Disney General Entertainment Content Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution ESPN Inc.
Family Entertainment Television Inc.
Reporting for: TVG Fox Corporation
Reporting for: FOX
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
MLB Network LLC National Basketball Association
National Football League
NBCUniversal Media LLC
Reporting for: NBC
NBCUniversal Media LLC
Reporting for: CBS
Reporting for: Paramount Cable Networks, excluding Showtime Networks Paramount Global Reporting for: Showtime Networks PGA Tour Inc.
Playfly Sports LLC
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Qurate Retail Group Riot Games Inc. Sony Pictures Entertainment TelevisaUnivision Inc.
The E.W. Scripps Company
Reporting for: Scripps Networks
Reporting for: The CW
WGBH Educational Foundation World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.
2022 Connectivity Providers Survey Participants
ALLO Communications Altice USA Inc.
Astound Broadband Cable One Inc.
Charter Communications Inc.
Comcast Cable Communications Inc.
Cox Communications Inc. DIRECTV LLC
GCI Communication Inc.
Google Fiber Inc.
Schurz Communications Inc.