What can you expect to earn working in digital?

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Zachary Owen Salary, Survey, insights-featured...

Every two years, Conversion Talent carries out a salary survey of digital experts across Belgium to gain an idea of how monthly income and daily rates compare across different sectors and areas of expertise. The survey provides a useful method in which not only can digital experts see how their earning potential compares to industry averages but it is also an invaluable way for companies to gauge the cost of hiring talent in order to begin or further their transformation.

As we expected, this year’s edition of the Salary Survey shows a shifting digital landscape that has grown and evolved significantly since 2015. However, there were some surprising findings and emerging trends that further highlighted the importance of conducting such research. It is this with this in mind that we bring you four key takeaways from the investigation.

1. Antwerp beats the capital for freelance pay

The capital of a country normally comes out on top when ranking cities and regions by income and this trend was supported by the findings in the value of permanent contracts in Belgium with Brussels having the highest average gross monthly salary of €4034. The next closest salary average was found in Flemish Brabant with €3749 per month.

Freelance rates reflected a vastly different picture with Antwerp emerging on top with the highest average daily rates for those looking for more flexible work placements. The average going rate in Antwerp for a digital freelancer is  €750, which is well above the pay in Brussels which stands at a comparatively cheaper rate of €590.

2. Automotive leads the pack in terms of salary

Many people would expect that the biggest pay in digital would come from working with the financial sector. However, our findings showed that freelance pay in the automotive industry far outstripped that of other sectors. The average digital expert working in this sector earned €850 compared to just €551 in finance.

Gross monthly salaries in permanent roles are beginning to show a similar pattern with the car industry offering greater pay (€4269) than many other sectors. The surprising leader in permanent roles was the public sector which was the only category to break the €5000 per month mark, although it is worth noting that it offers the lowest annual bonus.

3. The freelance UX sector is becoming an increasing presence in the digital economy

UX experts made up just 8% of respondents in the freelance section of the survey in 2015. This number increased to 21% in this year’s edition showing a marked increase in the the growth of the sector and their importance to companies as they become increasingly aware of the need to adapt to the realities of the digital economy.

The number of respondents in UX  working in permanent positions also increased from 9% to 14% between 2015 and 2017. This is a very positive sign but perhaps reflects that companies are very much still utilising UX designers on a project by project basis.

4. Extra-legal benefits may prove crucial in any contract negotiation

Extra-legal benefits are becoming increasingly standard across the digital sector with 86% of respondent being given a company computer, whilst 81% received meal vouchers. Many respondents even benefitted from more advanced benefits such as a company car (58%) and gasoline card (57%).

Such perks can often determine whether a contract is signed and as they become a more standardised part of the package for jobs in digital, companies will face increasing pressure to add such features to an offer if they wish to secure the talent they are the after.

This piece is just a preview of the many in-depth findings that our investigation uncovered. If you’re a digital expert looking to compare your income to benchmarks across multiple regions and sectors, or if you’re hiring manager trying to gauge costs when mapping out your digital future, then the Salary Survey 2017 should be your first port of call.