iGB Salary Survey Part 3: the specialists

Pentasia’s recruiters examine salary trends and factors shaping the market for key industry specialisms, from customer service to marketing


Customer service - Chanelle Demanuele

It’s rare to find a CS department that’s growing as AI technology, chat bots and ‘self-service’ help reduce the need for human support. This may explain the growing wage gap in CS, as fewer, more skilled CS leaders can use technology to resolve a workload previously only possible with large teams.

This approach of outsourcing CS - with a handful of outsourced CS and fraud providers in Malta picking up the increasing workload – means you no longer need native-speaking, upper intermediate-level operatives. Cyprus, Bulgaria and even Costa Rica have all been locations for relocation of CS out of Malta.

Sales and account management - Karl Harenburg

Candidate demand is focussed on a secure base,particularly in city hubs where living costs are high. They are unwilling to risk their lifestyle on bonus packages, typically 20-40% within the remuneration package, reliant on meeting targets. Contrary to belief, the No 1 motive for switching sales jobs is not money but a more interesting employer.

Most are open to new opportunities and often mobile, except those with the deepest networks among large operators and suppliers where long-term dealshares place a high penalty on leaving. Exiting igaming for payments and AI tech is also increasingly attractive.

Product and project - Cara Kerr

Salaries are growing across the board, but we’re seeing more progress to higher levels due to the increased importance of product, project and programme management roles in igaming.

Businesses used to force product heads into being people managers’ of 10-30 people, but this resulted in low job satisfaction and became a key motivator for leaving. Now they are more savvy about using product & project managers for what they are good at, with some managing 30+ products with very few direct reports. Placing them in the right setup with the right levers to control is crucial.

Compliance, legal and fraud - Jonathan Rebeiro

New and updated regulation has added significant workload to compliance, legal and fraud departments in some markets over the past year. This increased responsibility has driven up senior salaries, particularly in Malta, as compliance professionals earn their place at leadership level.

Increasingly, compliance is about stakeholder management across organisations, and those responsible for meeting regulatory requirements have to be strong relationship builders. Operators are increasingly electing to spread responsibility across their organisation rather than within distinct compliance functions, leading to a reduction in some more junior 
compliance roles.

Finance and operations - Christine Hili

We are seeing significant increases in salaries, particularly at the senior level where direct industry experience is essential and therefore highly valuable. This is an area where businesses are understandably unwilling to compromise, particularly for those charged with commercial responsibility and managing key growth initiatives. Individual roles are increasingly exceeding £150k with many hitting £200k. Technically astute operational leadership talent commands some of the highest salary levels: CTOs, VPs of technology, trading directors, also those with an appetite for working in 
emerging markets.

Design and tech - Caroline Butler

There is a huge quantity of vacancies in the industry for design and technology specialists, and this is continuing to grow thanks to the requirement to build a whole department internally with teams of 5-20 hires. However, this isn’t leading to increased salaries, as employers have not adapted their expectations to the highly competitive, candidate-favourable market.

Now we see a rising trend of hiring more junior developers at a lower rate (say £32-35k) despite the additional training that is required, as opposed to hiring smaller teams of experienced hands (say £45-50k). However, this in turn has resulted in an employee turnover rate of around 18 months.

Candidate requests for remote work increase daily – it’s the number one request on our tech desk, but to our knowledge only one company in Malta enables work from home, exemplary of the demand/supply gap. Nowadays, igaming doesn’t have quite the pull-factor it used to – once it was the hottest industry for these candidates, but now there are equally attractive competitors vying for strong design and technology departments.

Tech and design candidates are always interested in learning or getting exposure to new technology - from PHP to new back-end language, or Javascript to the popular React or Angular frameworks. Perhaps in our favour is the fact that blockchain is also an area of interest. This drive for learning may, however, play a part in another motive for switching roles - non-technical skills like leadership or team responsibility are in demand from employers, but not desirable for the candidates.

Analytics - Daryl King

Analytics’ technical skillset has increased substantially, even in the past two years. Software knowledge in analytics  - cloud system softwares, SME, Amazon RedShift, AWS, Azure, Google big query – PowerBI, SQL, rPython. This requires two skillsets in one person, a developer inside an analyst, which you are not usually going to find in a graduate, more in a developer looking to turn into an analyst. This can be an attractive route towards specialism as it’s often a higher-profile role, not all computer-based and based on stakeholder management and cultivating c-suite relationships.

So why the salary drop? Lots of technical analytics work is being moved away from London or other head offices to elsewhere in Europe, such as Bulgaria, Romania and Vienna, where the lower cost of living means can you can employ someone working at senior BI level for €45k as opposed to €65k. AI is where the big money is at – you can earn €150-200k as a graduate at Google or Microsoft.

Marketing - Gareth Mulley

Marketing in gambling is crucially important – it’s what differentiates your offer and helps attract and retain players. These departments are being asked to do more and more, but haven’t seen pay rises that reflect this increased workload. Plus, tighter regulation creates compliance responsibilities which largely fall on marketing. Facing huge fines, errors can be made easily even by the most junior of executives, creating more pressure from compliance and legal departments.

Marketing departments have some of the lowest career satisfaction rates, and perhaps this increased pressure and the requirement for specialism narrowing career paths have led to the general dissatisfaction. There’s little difference in salary rates between acquisition and retention roles, which are both equally valued, but there’s definitely split between ‘brand’ and ‘digital’, with results-driven digital roles paying more.

We’re also seeing a trend to reorganise acquisition talent into teams of paid social (all social output) and biddable media (including programmatic). A crucial business choice is whether to build this in-house, which can be complex and lead to minimal returns, or outsource to often costly specialist agencies.

Marketing departments also want to bring more skills in-house, in particular, the low-hanging fruits of SEO and content. Analysis, campaign testing multi-channel and multi-testing have become increasingly important in marketing, and candidates really need to show some mathematical ability in their CV.

The data Based on 2,665 jobs in the periods July 2016-June 2017 and July 2017-June 2018. Jobs were categorised by level according to the following criteria. ‘Executive’ includes those in entry-level, junior and non-managerial roles; ‘Manager’ includes experienced, specialist and department leads; ‘Senior’ includes heads of department, management and leadership. Original salary currencies have been converted into GBP at the rate 1USD:0.75GBP; 1EUR:0.85GBP; 1AUD at 0.57; 1CAD at 0.59; HKD at 0.09; SEK at 0.085; SGD at 0.57.

The headline job categories include the following positions: Analytics & data - business intelligence, customer insight, marketing analytics and data management; Compliance, legal & fraud - strategic and operational regulatory practice; Customer services - call and chat operators, live dealing and support; Design & tech - includes technical development, front and back end development, UX and digital design, game design and development; Marketing - strategy, campaigns, digital marketing, CRM, acquisition, retention affiliate and VIP; MD & C-suite - C-level executives including CEOs; Finance & operations - finance, business infrastructure, technical delivery, management and support roles; Product & project - product management and project management specialists; Sales & account management - B2B sales and business development professionals.

Related articles: iGB Salary Survey: Part 1 iGB Salary survey Part 2