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By In Growth Marketing

What 1,000+ SaaS startups are telling us about the Marketing job market

When I started my search for a full-time job, I became curious about the SaaS Marketing job market as a whole.

While many SaaS startups enjoyed an increase in organic demand over the course of last year, the number of Marketing jobs did not enjoy the same bullish trend.

A question appears. Are SaaS startups still hiring Marketers?

It feels like software startups focus their resources on Product and Sales. 

I’ve looked at 1000+ SaaS start-ups from North America and Europe to confirm my hypothesis. 

Half of the companies I’ve looked at have between 11-50 employees.

 It’s not a very even distribution. There should have been more than 1-10 companies in there. But seeing as a lot of them didn’t even have a working website anymore, I decided to make my life a lot easier.

Also, more than half of these companies have received Seed or Series A funding.

This information is essential in order to properly understand the insights that resulted from this.

I’ve removed companies that are bigger than 500 employees or had a funding round beyond series E.

If we are to look at the industry as a whole, unicorns and warts and all, there’s a huge discrepancy between how startups are handling the pandemic and how pre-IPO / freshly pointed public companies are doing.

Who’s still hiring Marketers? 

Before starting my research I found this article from Crunchbase, that looked at the valuations and employee growth of tech companies that are going public.

TL:DR – “It’s noteworthy, however, that this year’s survey didn’t show much growth in overall employee counts at companies going public.”

Calendly was recently evaluated at $3B and it has a team of 213 people.

Given that SaaS companies like Calendly aren’t that many, they can’t offer anything statistically significant to the industry.

So I looked for more companies that are way lower on the valuation ladder. 

Half of the companies in my research are between 11 and 50 employees. It’s interesting to see only 30% of these companies hiring for a Marketing position.

I threw into the mix their latest funding date and amount.

plot-chart-hiring-1

The big, rich SaaS companies still have the budget to push for talent growth. Companies with 101-500 employees have the highest average of Marketing & Growth jobs.

Also, companies that got funding before 2019 are less likely to be hiring for Marketing positions, and more likely to focus on Product or Sales hires. 

The companies that are still hiring are most likely in the 101-500 employees segment that had over $30M in their last round of funding. So most successful SaaS companies that have the resources and are forced to keep their accelerated growth trajectory.

39.17% of SaaS companies are looking to hire for at least one Marketing position. 

It’s not only lower than the percentage of companies who are hiring for sales and post-sales positions, but the average amount of jobs per company is 2-3 times higher. 

It feels like companies, especially the ones that are in Series A and above, are focusing on scaling a sales-heavy process. This might happen because they are happy with their Marketing output and demand gen pipeline or there’s a bigger need to focus on multi-touch sales, upsells, and renewals.

If we are to compare the EU and US SaaS markets, the discrepancy between the number of companies hiring Marketing is quite big. 

Overall it feels like European SaaS companies have less success at implementing successful Marketing strategies but they also have a smaller pool of matured Marketing experts. 

The lack of experienced Marketers in the EU SaaS market creates this “it just doesn’t work for us” attitude.

Is remote work the new norm?

The short answer is not really. 

I tried to weed out companies that are offering temporary remote and WFH policies to their employees. In my opinion, this does not qualify as remote, because you still have to live in the same city as the company and they might revert back to office work once the lockdown is over.

According to the 2021 remote work Buffer report, the number of people wanting to work remotely is overwhelming. As in 2020. As in 2019. . .

While the number of companies increased significantly over the last year, only around 31.09% of the companies in the research offered remote work. 

difference-between-remote-work-rethoric-and-actual-jobs-1-1

Most of the companies that are offering remote jobs have their search area limited to a change in the timezone of ⅔  hours. While there’s a lot of push for remote work, companies are prudent and are taking baby steps toward this goal. 

Deciding to hire remote employees is an irreversible process.

You can’t just ask your remote employees to move from their states or countries to work from your HQ after the pandemic is gone. 

All in all, most SaaS startups are trying to navigate the current lockdown problem without having to drastically change their work culture. 

The SaaS Marketing job market is Manager heavy

I looked at the job board of every company and scraped all the Marketing job posts, including sites like LinkedIn or Angel.co. 

Overall, Manager postings account for 56.43% of the whole job market.

breakdown-of-seniority-marketing

Overall, for every specialist position, there are 3 Manager or top-level positions.

I’ve decided to label the roles as a specialist rather than junior-level because a majority of these roles are more for experts that have over 3-4 years of experience under their belt. Most commonly in the roles of content or technical writers. 

Because more than half of the companies that I’ve researched have between 11-50 employees and from my own experience, the “Manager” roles are not managerial in nature. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.

Most of them require generalist Marketers with broad experience in different areas of expertise like content creation, email marketing, social media, search engine optimization.

The title has more of an honorary meaning, and most of the time they only manage the relationships with agencies or freelancers. They are also managers of their own customer acquisition channels.

senior-managers-marketing-bernie-sanders

VC funded SaaS startups that are in the early stages of their growth are less likely to be the proper environment for early-career talent development. This is mostly because these startups have to hit milestones and rush from one funding round to the other. 

Working with small, agile teams means that employees need to possess the skills of self-management and project ownership.

There’s really not a lot of time for learning and developing core skills in a high-growth startup. That’s why the job market data looks to be skewed towards more senior positions.  

What roles are hot right now?

There are certainly certain positions that stood out during my research. 

First off, I’ve grouped the jobs based on disciplines and ordered them by popularity. 

  1. Content Marketing – 24.49%
  2. Product Marketing – 18.40%
  3. Demand Generation – 8.12%
  4. Growth- 7.98%
  5. Performance Marketing – 6.50%
  6. Communications – 4.47%
  7. SEO – 3.65%

Content Marketing is more common on specialist levels, including technical and UX writer positions. Product Marketing is more popular among the Manager roles.

The rest of the positions have a more even distribution across all seniority levels.

At a Manager level ( and overall ) the most common positions are: 

  1. Digital Marketing Manager 
  2. Product Marketing Manager 
  3. Demand Generation manager 
  4. Content Marketing Manager

By far, the most popular position out of the 4 is the Digital Marketing Manager.

Most SaaS startups run with a very small and agile Marketing team. That’s why generalists are way more popular than specific roles like Performance, SEO, Content, ABM, or Social Media.

Are you currently looking for a Marketing job in SaaS?

While I was doing the research, I thought about the fact that it could be a good starting point for anybody looking for a job in these challenging times.

I’ve put together a spreadsheet with the companies, their HQ location, the roles they are looking for, and whether they are hiring remotely or not.

Search for your dream job in SaaS 

If you do work for a SaaS company that’s hiring and it’s not on the list and you’re hiring, leave a comment and I’ll add it.

Feel free to share it with anybody who needs it!

Parting Words

We’ve recently “celebrated” a year since the pandemic started, and it seems like this won’t go away anytime soon.

A lot of news publications state that the pandemic won’t be fully over until 2024. 

Many companies still haven’t fully grasped this notion and they are still holding off hiring and holding on to their office culture. 

Salesforce officially stated the “9 to 5 is dead” and made the decision to allow for remote working for some of their employees. 

A lot more SaaS companies avoid hiring for Marketing and Growth positions. Either because they want to weather the lockdown or they prioritise Sales and Product jobs.

And the companies that are hiring are looking to fill in more strategic roles within their department.

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