CS Careers and Compensation Skyrocket in 2021 Image

CS Careers and Compensation Skyrocket in 2021

By Zoë Lefeuvre

Last year the world entered uncharted territory, and economists globally made predictions about whether we would have a V, L, or W-shaped recovery. In April 2020, the unemployment rate reached 14.8%, the highest rate observed since data collection began in 1948.

In hindsight, looking at these stark facts, we could not have imagined that a year later, the reverse would be true. Headlines in 2021 have broadcasted record low unemployment, labor shortages, and record numbers of workers leaving their jobs willingly, which is not a trend we could have predicted in April 2020. However, among these stories on opposite ends of the spectrum, there is a bright light for SaaS and tech companies—many began to realize that Customer Success is a growth engine for business. As a result of that surge, career opportunities in Customer Success have soared.

Gainsight has been on the cutting edge of this growth, launching CS You last year amid all this change. With goals of increasing underrepresented backgrounds in Customer Success, Gainsight partnered with SV Academy to raise $600k+ to help many people transition into this exciting industry. To date, dozens of tech companies, including Gainsight, have hired CS You graduates who have completed the program, which includes an eight-week paid internship to gain hands-on experience driving outcomes with customers.

During Pulse Everywhere, we also heard from Xactly’s Chief Customer Officer, Bernie Kassar, about the positive trends they have seen in the industry first hand. Of course, Bernie would know first hand as he let it be known just how much his phone has been ringing off the hook for new opportunities. Instead of poaching Bernie, our CEO Nick Mehta loves playing matchmaker for tech firms and CCOs, so shoot him an email for help.

If we follow the money, we can see how lucrative CS careers are trending over the last few years, with the base salary for CS management climbing to an average of $143k annually. In addition, as a role that seeks to drive outcomes, we see that playing out in compensation with many roles becoming more performance-based, a trend expected to continue over time as CS leaders become compensated for helping customers excel in their goals. In a short time, we will see how CS is on par with Sales as a vital part of any software company when new business and expansion business becomes equal to the bottom line. The most significant drivers of the variable aspect of compensation are gross retention, net retention,performance-based, and cross-sell revenue. Who doesn’t want to be part of a growing career directly impacting the success of some of the largest valued companies in the world?

Talent cloud company iCIMS has also seen customer success employment trending up and to the right through their data analysis drawn from its proprietary database of employer and job seeker activity. When comparing CS/CX (customer success and customer experience) roles against other roles in Q2 2021 versus Q1 2020, CS job applications were up 14%, while total applications were down 10%. The most significant jump in applications was surprisingly in the 45-54 age range (68% growth!), which may indicate that a large percentage of these applicants are career pivots seeking change. The growth is especially strong for male applicants, with a 26% increase as more men apply for CS/CX roles. Within the CS You cohorts, we have heard testimonials from people shifting from the retail/service sectors, hospitality, and other industries negatively impacted by the pandemic. Technology is welcoming this new cohort of workers with open arms to help drive post-pandemic growth.

So much of these positive trends make sense when we think about the profound change experienced over the past year. With 2020 accelerating the move to SaaS and the cloud, the way everyone does business has shifted. Sales executives can close a record ARR deal from their couch instead of a conference room, being stripped of life as we knew it means truly finding your passion. Tech has led the way as people embrace change, with software being the ultimate essential worker. What else powers deliveries to your door, connects you with colleagues across the world, and allows researchers to analyze large data sets to inform the world about this pandemic—technology. I can speak to this first-hand, as without a tech career, my prospects would have been quite limited when my husband announced we would be moving to Little Rock, AR, for his job. In this new economy, you and your dream job no longer have to share a city that opens up possibilities for everyone.

Now that you’re convinced about the rocket growth of CS joins us as we revolutionize the industry. Gainsight is not just a platform—we are THE CS Community. So whether you are looking to groom the next generation of CS leaders, find an executive to lead your CS organization, or take your CS technology to new heights by learning from your peers, Gainsight has a solution for you.

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