What to pay a Digital Asset Management (DAM) professional, especially a position your organization may not have had before, is a frequently asked question (FAQ). It is asked even more frequently as the DAM community continues to grow year over year. As a Digital Asset Management (DAM) professional myself, the goal of this blog post is not to state what I earn per year nor start ‘salary fixing’ what it costs an organization to employ one or more DAM professionals. Instead, I would like to encourage everyone in the global DAM community to take the anonymous survey which is gathering this specific salary data.
Yes, there is a such a survey started by the DAM Foundation which is collecting salary data. The DAM Foundation’s Human Resources and Talent (HR & T) Committee is requesting more Digital Asset Management professionals to please take this survey so this data set can grow and everyone can get a better understanding of this growing market.
There are quite a few jobs in the ‘Digital Asset Management’ job market and there will be even more coming soon. Interest in DAM is growing rapidly. This is shown by the increasing number of people attending DAM webinars and DAM conferences this year. Even more so by the number of organizations looking into, implementing and using DAM to their benefit.
Some DAM vendors pride themselves in the number of new clients they have. Some DAM vendors and consultants suggest specific roles to be established within an organization to support ongoing DAM initiatives and well after implementation.
New to many organizations
Digital Asset Management is new to many organizations. Since technology (the DAM system) is only part of the solution, it still needs people and processes as well. These specific people, processes and technology often do not yet exist within an organization or are not formally organized. When it comes to people, this is part of the job market that most people did not specifically go to school for nor did these jobs widely exist before. Fear, uncertainty and doubt often stall timelines and roadmaps for DAM implementations. Getting an experienced professional to help walk an organization through many of the common pain points of DAM is an option before you pick out a solution.
Supply and Demand
The number of experienced DAM professionals who are available in the job market may currently be low in many areas at the time of this blog post, but this number is increasing due to rising interest. Anyone hiring for such positions will find this out as soon as they filter to the experienced and qualified candidates.
Since there is a low supply and high demand for these experienced DAM professionals, guess what happens to the cost to the organization needing these professionals to manage their digital assets? It goes up.
Digital Experience Required
When it comes to education, I did speak with one person who has a Master in the Arts of Digital Asset Management (MADAM) named Romney Whitehead. While many of DAM professionals (including myself) do not have a degree in DAM, Library nor Information Sciences, one option is look for graduates with a MLIS degree who have real digital experience. Organizing physical materials vs. managing digital collections are quite different, so keep this in mind when hiring. Note that most library schools and i-schools (i is for information) do not teach about the process nor the technology of DAM with a few exceptions, however some of the DAM fundamentals and categorization are better understood by MLIS graduates with experience organizing digital collections and use of metadata.
DAM is not just about photography. Knowing how to manage digital photography (after use of the camera) is a good start to DAM.
Staff or Contract
There is multitude of reasons for having either staff and/or contractors, however Digital Asset Management is not a temporary task. DAM is an ongoing task. Keep this in mind since the organization will need consistency in how digital assets are managed in order to find them again. Your organization is likely accumulating more and trying to manage more assets than ever before. Who will do this continually within your organization?
Having a DAM professional is a mutual commitment by the people and the organization.
Job descriptions vary based on many factors including the experience of candidate, the organization and their needs for the position.
Trust but verify
Digital assets have a value (known or perceived) to acquire them, create them and use these assets. The organization may need to search, find, use, reuse and re-purpose them legally and with ease to get the best ROI. How a DAM professional gets this work done may take some level of feedback and trust, but they should be able to produce reports with measurable results in meaningful numbers which can be verified. Professionals should be able to communicate who, what, where, when, why and how something is getting done with these assets, with enough relevant context and content for any audience.
There is quite a few levels of experience when it comes to Digital Asset Management. If you want to discern between individuals who have similar DAM experience, a hiring manager could ask:
- How many different DAM solutions have they worked on?
- How many different organizations using DAM solutions have they worked with?
- How long did they use the DAM and how often?
- How many DAM solutions were successfully implemented and are still in use today?
- How many users does the DAM solution serve?
- How many assets are managed? What kind?
- How do they measure ROI using DAM?
The answers will vary per person, but you will quickly find out how knowledgeable that person is in terms of Digital Asset Management. Now let us figure out how DAM professionals are valued.