7% Unemployment In Search Marketing Industry

May 7, 2009 • 9:03 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News

SEM Employment RateA couple weeks ago, I ran a poll asking do you currently have a job. We have just under 400 responses, which I would consider a great sampling, and I wanted to share those results with you.

According to our survey, 7% of search marketers are out of a job and consider themselves unemployed. The current unemployment rate is 9%, so it looks like the SEM space is a bit better off, but not all that much better off.

65% of the respondents said they are an employee of a company, while 25% said they are self-employed. 7% said they are currently unemployed and 2% answered "other." The other responses included:

  • Employee and Self Employed
  • Retired
  • at a startup working for equity...no pay yet
  • Both Employee and Self-Employed
  • yes - employee, i also do web development and graphic design
  • yes, employee, but barely. layoffs keep coming. kind of scard.
  • Was employed, quit, now self-employed and better off
  • Freelance but looking for permanent

I was kind of hoping the responses would be a bit more encouraging in this industry. I was hoping to see closer to 4 or 5%. Why? Well, in this industry, even if you are out of a job, many can do begin their own job, work for themselves and put together a livable income. The 25% figure for those who are self-employed seemed high to me, but not high for this industry. Last figure I saw was from 2007, where the overall US self-employment rate was at just under 9%.

Do you think the figures above, i.e. 7% unemployment in the search marketing industry, sounds right? Do these numbers shock you in any way?

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05/07/2009 06:51 pm

US unemployment figures don't count "discouraged workers" who have been out of the workforce for six months or more. That could explain why the figure for SEMs is so high. The self-employment bit doesn't surprise me, either. An independent worker can do SEO pretty effectively.

Michael Stalker

05/07/2009 08:11 pm

I would have assumed the rate would have been much lower. I've heard that it's always best to spend money on marketing in a recession. Online marketing is only growing, so I'm surprised so many SEOs are out of work.

Scott Salwolke

05/08/2009 12:28 pm

I wonder if the self employed number will grow even larger if this continues. Many companies thinking of hiring a SEO or SEM person might consider outsourcing just to save on costs.

Jon Payne

05/11/2009 09:47 am

Skewed sample. Those responding to your poll have more time. I would say those who are employed by nature have less time to read blogs and respond to such polls. Also, how does someone classify themselves as being in the industry? I have an open position and get tons of resumes from people who want to be in the SEO industry, but none of them have ANY experience - not with a firm, not their own sites, etc. The only thing they seem to have is desire for a job. Does that make them people in the SEO industry? If so, your number could indeed be much higher. I'd put a qualification here as people with some level of experience and skillset already. In other words, what percentage of "employable" SEO people are out of work? That may be totally different that "what percentage of people who would like to have a job in the SEO industry don't have one?"

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