The state of the UK SEO Jobs Market

by Ben McKay June 9th, 2009 

UK Search Engine Marketing Industry is Bigger than ever

As the recession creeps in and the news continues to fill with stories of companies making more and more redundancies, there is one exemplary winner in the economy...the search engine marketing industry.

I’m going to talk a little about the SEO labour market in particular, as this is quite obviously the market that I know best, but

I’d love to hear your thoughts on changes to the SEM markets in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia, or anywhere else for that matter. So please leave your comments at the end.

All Fields Require SEO Services

The demand for SEO comes from clients. As the mass media talks so extensively now about the search engines and the opportunities that exist online, more and more industry fellows are seeing the organic SERPs as a media channel opportunity that must be explored more. This trickles down the ladder and as such demand for labour is created.

Clients are asking their digital, PR, marketing, media and web design agencies about SEO; making these owners think about their offerings to their clients...and so demand for SEO labour is created once again.

As such, the demand in the industry for fresh and experiences SEO recruits is phenomenal...

SEO Demand Trend

This is not set to change any time soon either. The eConsultancy recently published a report with Guava, available for free here. Makes fascinating reading.

A key factor that supports this demand is that 55% of respondents expected their search engine optimisation budgets to increase over the next 12 months.

The demand trend for SEO specialists is therefore on the up and as supply cannot meet this demand and the value of SEO is starting to be understood, salaries are on the rise too...


The average salary of £33,000 is not bad for an industry in its infancy. This is about 40% more than the national average by the way.

I know that there have been some instances of redundancies in the marketing and media industry, but it seems that the SEO industry is one of the more positive stories to come out of recent times.

Education and Demand

With any technological industry, and new marketing channel, we rely on mass media channels to help us SEO’s demystify the opportunities that exist, minimising the perception of any hocus pocus.

As stated, there has been masses of coverage in the broadsheets, bombarding top executives and decision-makers, for quite some time now...all helping to integrate SEO into the decision-making process.

What SEO Skills are needed?

There is no pre-determined set of SEO skills that make you a fully-fledged specialist.  I have a traditional marketing background, others have been or maybe still are webmasters, web developers, PR specialists or business development guys.  All-in -all, you can read what technical SEO skills you might need, but please bear-in-mind, there’s a load of fluffy marketing and management skills around those areas that make you a real pro!  😉

Search Marketing Job Resources

If you’re looking for a job or preparing for interviews you might need a few resources. I built a custom search engine that amalgamated a load of SEO, PPC and social media job boards but have also found David Harry’s post on getting an SEO job interesting reading and preparation questions for SEO interviews are also available.

I keep trying to sell the idea of moving into the SEO market to my friends as I can think of no other that moves quite so fast or is half as interesting. So far, to no avail but I'm working on it!

What are your thoughts?  Do you see similar growth in your industry?

Stats & graphs republished with kind permission from IT Jobs Watch UK

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8 Responses to “The state of the UK SEO Jobs Market”

  1. There might be lots of jobs available still – just a shame nobody is willing to hire a graduate.

  2. Sankar says:

    Yes Ben,

    SEO market is booming in the recession, SEO job is called "recession proof job". SEOs are getting paid higher now a days, even the whole world is suffering with recession. I am sure SEO is evergreen and will rock in future.


  3. Toronto SEO says:

    Nice post and thanks for all the details. I wrote a post a while back about the state of SEO jobs in the US ( an also where I am from in Canada (

    I think I will write an updated post and refer back to your post as my inspiration. I really hope Canada catches up to the UK and US soon!

  4. David Towers says:

    @Kieron Hughes – My advice to you is get some SEO experience under your belt on some of your own sites (I know that's one thing you're current doing). That will definitely help when trying to get your first job in SEO.

  5. Ben McKay says:

    @Kieron I'm sure there's Junior SEO positions floating around! If you struggle to get those, my advice would be to set-up your own sites, continue to loiter around SEO blogs. 'Test and learn', as they say…shows a good bit of initiative to a prospective employer too.

    @Sankar, I'm not sure that SEO will be recession proof forever, as supply catches-up with demand. And I'm sure there has been some redundancies in the industry from some agencies that have employed to meet expanding client demand, but has subsequently shrunk. Still though, things certainly seem to be on the positive side.

    @Toronto SEO, thanks for sharing your post.

  6. Whilst this is not directly related to SEO recruitment, in Cape Town we still get a healthy amount of interest from new prospective clients – the down turn has pushed to look for new ways to engage the buyer/customer.


  7. Ben McKay says:

    It's interesting to see that you have seen a downturn Cape Town SEO, and would be interested to hear how you go about engaging new customers.

    I have been hearing from many people that they see it to be quite different in the UK, where people are shifting their budgets to items that they get long-term sustainable results from, and also channels whereby they can measure the response – part of the explanation for this growth in demand…and also the growing internet users of course!

    Cheers for commenting,


  8. Hi Ben, I meant that the global down turn has meant people are trying new ways to attract customers and SEO is one of them – I have yet to see or experience any down turn here in Cape Town or South African in general.