Career Insights|4 Minutes
How Much Does a Digital Experience Leader Make in IT?
Have you ever tried to search for a leadership position in IT that’s dedicated exclusively to employee experience, sometimes listed as end user experience or Digital Employee Experience (DEX)?
I’m not talking about a CXO (Chief Experience Officer) role outside of IT—that position is usually advertised for customer experience or employee communications and human resources.
I’m talking strictly enterprise IT.
I did a quick search in LinkedIn to try out DEX related job titles and I found that most results returned random job postings, many of which have nothing to do with IT.
Over a year ago I tried to make sense of the different types of job titles in IT that tend to work and think about their company’s DEX.
I dubbed the article ‘The Ultimate List of Digital Employee Experience Job Titles’ based on a few hundred customer contacts.
I know, nothing ultimate about the sample size. I also made the assumption that just because our customers used our platform, by default they must also “buy” into our philosophy about digital work.
Admittedly, I was reaching for a narrative that wasn’t there, but this summer my team was given some hard evidence that’s taught us a few things about this emerging industry.
Teaming up with Vanson Bourne, an independent research firm, we surveyed 1,000 IT workers about their salary and career information. The participants came from four major markets, and several different job titles, levels and industries.
Before each person could answer our survey, we qualified them to make sure they either worked exclusively on (or at least had some knowledge of) their company’s digital experience.
By taking a healthy sample size of qualified “employee-first” IT workers, we’ve been able to draw several interesting conclusions about this emerging group.
Here’s what we found
DEX IT workers, even in mid-level leadership roles, earn well above the IT industry average in most countries.
When we compare salaries just in the US, DEX workers in senior leadership positions average $148,045—nearly 83% higher than the average IT salary in that country ($80,864 according to payscale.com as of March, 2021).
The 8 most frequent job titles recorded show that DEX IT workers come from different leadership levels but most still operate under traditional titles, like Director (of IT) or Manager (of IT).
Surprisingly, participants that had the job title ‘Senior Manager’ averaged a higher salary than most C-level positions.
Did we find any CXO (for IT) or other literal experience job titles?
Of the 1,000 people we surveyed, only a few registered CXO (for IT) or similar end-user / employee experience job titles.
I noticed that one CXO participant recorded a salary well above the $116,501 average we published in the DEX Career Capital report.
But when you remove that outlier to look at the remaining four CXO salaries, this group averages $92,500, well below the C-suite averages and the 34 Senior Managers I mentioned above.
1) Obviously five CXO job titles is a very small sample size, so take this data with a grain of salt BUT it is interesting to see that the CXO job title in enterprise IT does exist, it just may not be as popular yet compared to other C-suite positions like CTO, CIO, etc.
2) To avoid confusion with non-IT related job inquiries that carry the same ‘CXO’ title, I suggest IT advertise their senior C-suite role as a ‘Chief DEX Officer‘ (or Chief End User Experience Officer). And, considering the demand for hybrid work today, it only seems natural that this job function works closely with HR to oversee employee satisfaction and productivity, since both camps have a vested interest in those aims.
2) People with traditional IT job titles (like Director, Manager, etc.) are working more on DEX-related projects and strategy (as highlighted in the Career Capital Report) and they’re being compensated competitively for it.
3) I think it’s inevitable that IT departments will start organizing at least one team to focus exclusively on their employees overall digital work experience (and report into a Chief DEX Officer)—a team that is concerned with the big picture and how each employee device, application, and network connection, performs across both physical and virtual environments.
Putting the responsibility for a company’s employee experience on the shoulders of IT workers who have other projects and KPIs to answer to (like Network Security or Infrastructure Ops, for example) will leave IT stretched thin and blind to performance issues that they could avoid with the right team of dedicated professionals.
If you are interested in learning more about this data set and the findings we made in the Career Capital Report, access the study here.