Bucking the trend: how to recruit in-demand affiliate talent


By Chrysavgi Patera

Many igaming affiliate businesses are not doing themselves any favours when it comes to attracting in-demand hires, writes Pentasia’s specialist recruiter Chrysavgi Patera, but there are steps they can take now to improve their chances of success.

According to the latest iGB Pentasia Salary Survey, marketing roles are experiencing a dip in demand. But one area is bucking the trend: affiliate hires. Where there’s high demand, we typically see salary rises, as this year’s survey confirms. However, our experience at Pentasia is that many companies in the sector are not making it easy for themselves. Below I explore the key trends in affiliate hiring.

Salary trends mirroring affiliates' market value

As reported in the 2023 Salary Survey, the average salary for an Affiliate Manager is now £57,000 p/a, while a Head of Affiliate can command an average of £85,000 p/a. Notably, salary growth from 2022 for affiliate marketing roles surpasses that of other marketing positions which have largely remained stagnant; underscoring the demand for talent in this field.

“Salary growth from 2022 for affiliate marketing roles surpasses that of other marketing positions which have largely remained stagnant”
Chrysavgi Patera

However, many companies are attempting to recruit for less than the market rate, risking the acquisition of lower-quality candidates. Top-tier talent in affiliate marketing is willing to wait for the right opportunity and move only if there's a significant salary increase. Candidates tell us that they are being offered salaries below their current levels, emphasising the need for companies to align with market rates if they want to attract and retain top talent.

Challenges in recruiting the right talent

From my conversations with affiliate candidates and hirers, I have identified the following three main trends that impact an employer’s ability to recruit the right affiliate talent:

  1. Ineffective communication and branding: Some companies struggle to sell their company and the opportunities they offer. A weak employer brand may fail to convince affiliate candidates about the strength of their products or the appeal of their brand.
  2. Transparency in affiliate budgets: Affiliate candidates, who bring their own contacts, require transparency regarding a company's affiliate budget and model. Payment issues can impact an affiliate's reputation, leading to trust issues. Transparency is crucial to reassure candidates that these issues will not be a concern.
  3. Location preferences: Candidates show a strong preference for remote work, with even those based in iGaming hubs only considering hybrid models with no more than two days in the office. Companies that fail to offer remote options may need to compensate with higher salaries.

Alongside these trends, other factors also make it difficult to hire top affiliate talent. Namely, cost-cutting, not just in salaries but also in the recruitment approach, and the hiring cycle. For those companies looking for market expansion (such as the new opportunities in the US and LatAm markets covered in my final point below) addressing these challenges is crucial.

The pitfalls of cost-cutting in recruitment

With economic conditions and budgetary constraints putting pressure on companies to make savings, I understand why some companies are cutting costs by avoiding external recruitment services. However, in my experience this can be a false economy, resulting in poor-quality candidates. External recruiters possess extensive networks and access to a diverse pool of talent, which internal teams struggle to tap into. Given that affiliates are revenue generators, investing in quality talent through external recruiters ensures a higher return on investment.

Optimising the hiring cycle

The hiring cycle in the affiliate market traditionally peaks from March to June. However, this concentrated timeframe can lead to compromises in candidate selection. We recommend that affiliate companies keep their recruitment doors open throughout the year, allowing them to attract and secure top talent whenever the right opportunity arises.

Expanding horizons: US and LatAm

Growth in the igaming sector in the US and Latin America, brought about by new legislation, is creating opportunities for market expansion. This necessitates the recruitment of affiliate marketers with expertise in these jurisdictions, particularly in markets like Brazil. Companies planning to enter these markets should strategically factor in hiring to capitalise on these emerging opportunities.

In summary, the affiliate recruitment market going into 2024 is marked by robust demand and competitive salaries. To ensure your company has the right affiliate talent, a strategic approach is needed, factoring in the hiring cycle and remote work preferences, as well as how you communicate the employer brand and value proposition.

Moreover, while budget constraints may make hiring directly or internally an attractive proposition, leveraging the expertise of an external recruiter can significantly enhance the quality of your affiliate recruitment efforts.

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