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Q2 2016 AEM Market Report

MARKET OVERVIEW After a great Adobe Summit at the end of March, Computer Futures is continuing to see high demand for AEM technical skills in the market. There are roughly 15 jobs for every technologist available. For the past several years Adobe has been transitioning their sales model, moving from offering individual to multiple solutions, creating new and unique technology needs. We’re beginning to see increased requirements for technologists that have touched multiple, if not all, parts of the Adobe Marketing Cloud. In recent years the AEM Architect has been the most coveted candidate in this technical space but soon the true Multi-Solution Architect will be the most valuable individual in the market place. Candidates can take advantage of this by working toward developing their skills in multiple parts of the cloud. We anticipate seeing the same growth in the Adobe arena throughout the second half of 2016.

There are roughly 15 jobs for every technologist available.



THE DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHIES BEHIND CONSULTING VS FULL TIME STAFFING Most candidates would rather move on to the next project as a consultant, putting their skillsets to better use and being better compensated for it.

In the AEM candidate pool there is a clear distinction between consultants looking for consulting work, and employees looking for full-time roles. These candidate pools are for the most part autonomous from one another due to the nature of the projects that they working on. From what we’ve observed, AEM staffing needs arise in companies where there are efforts to upgrade, redesign and implement the content management system, making it a predominantly project driven market place. These specific phases of the project lifecycle are what require pure consultants. Many managers prefer to hire permanent resources for the periods of maintenance in between projects, but most candidates would rather move on to the next project as a consultant, putting their skillsets to better use and earning higher compensation.

This is how consultants refine their skillsets, allowing them to work in different companies with a variety of different team structures and unique challenges, thus developing and maintaining their specializations. In between projects, the platform goes into a stabilization period, where the nature of the work is less specialized. This is where permanent candidates are best utilized as they are more interested in a steady workload, helping out with support tickets, and handling smaller tasks. These candidates will typically come at a reduced cost.



2 2016

Generalist Staffing Firm

Specialist Staffing Firm

Implementation Partner





Candidate Quality




Avg. Delivery Time

4 Weeks

3-4 Days


Exclusive Consultants




Project Control




Onsite Resources




Contractor Care




PRICE Generalist staffing firms tend to have lower rates as they operate on more of a volume business across all roles. Partners rely heavily on their brand recognition to justify much higher rates. Specialist firms tend to fall somewhere in the middle, offering similar candidate quality as a partner at almost half of the cost. CANDIDATE QUALITY Because generalists fill roles across various skills sets, they lack the technical expertise and in depth market knowledge that specialists and partners use to uncover and retain the upper echelons of AEM candidates. AVERAGE DELIVERY TIME Generalists lack the position in the market to identify and attract top candidates quickly. Specialists will already know who those tops candidates are, so the process to retain them is swift. Partners are equipped to deliver resources instantaneously, as they often have benches of candidates waiting for their next projects. EXCLUSIVE CONSULTANTS Partners will often have their best consultants working on multiple projects at a time – meaning they may not necessarily be fully devoted to your business. By placing someone in-house with a specialist or generalist, you can be assured that your consultants are all in on your project and will carry out the entire duration of the project. PROJECT CONTROL Partners employ consultants to work on specific AEM projects, however the candidates tend to be remote resources and ultimately serve to benefit their company, not yours. Generalists and specialists employ candidates who can work onsite with you as a dedicated extension of your team. They will advocate directly for your business and make sure that project timelines are being adhered to and that deadlines are consistently being met. ONSITE RESOURCES As aforementioned, consultants from partners largely tend to be remote resources who travel onsite upon occasion. Generalists lack the position in this niche market to know who the top local candidates are, so usually try to sell remote resources to open up the candidate pool. Specialists have deeper insight into the market and are able to find and retain more local candidates who are able to work onsite directly with your team. CONTRACTOR CARE Partners deploy resources straight onto projects but tend to have a “no news is good news” philosophy when it comes to candidate satisfaction and retention. Specialists maintain close relationships with top talent to ensure they are happy. The projects are successful, and the talent is retained.

Specialists have deeper insight into the market and are able to find and retain more local candidates who are able to work onsite directly with your team.


HOURLY RATES On the whole, rates have remained within the same low high brackets detailed in the Q1 Market report. However, we have seen the most interesting changes in the developer category. 75% of customers are paying more than $110 per hour which is the base line rate for developers. We are still placing developers at this price point, but we have seen clients adapt to beat the competition on price to secure the best talent.

of customers 75% are paying more than $110 per hour which is the base line rate for developers

In the months following the Adobe Marketing Cloud Summit, we have seen a number of early adopters of AEM 6.2. These projects are still very much in their infancy and we expect to see consultants come back onto the market with 6.2 experience over the next 12 months. We anticipate consultants re-entering the market with AEM 6.2 experience will earn additional $10-$15 per hour.

RATES TESTING --------------------------------------------------$70-95 PROJECT MANAGER/BUSINESS ANALYST -------$95-150 DEVELOPER -------------------------------------------$110-130 LEAD DEVELOPER -----------------------------------$120-150 TECHNICAL ARCHITECT ----------------------------$155-200 SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT ----------------------------$155-200

4 2016


RETENTION SUGGESTIONS In the months following the Summit, Adobe are at their most active having just signed up new clients for AEM implementations. This means the competition for securing talent is more challenging than ever before as the candidate pool doesn’t increase at the same pace. These new implementations will take candidates off the market for 12 months+ and are some of the most attractive propositions from a candidate perspective. As an employer you must ask yourself if you are doing all you can to secure, develop and retain candidates. Are you selling the business and project at interview level to create interest and commitment? Are your pay rates in-line with the market? Are you reviewing rates on extension? Are you challenging your employees and giving them the opportunity to learn new skills/technologies? Are you upgraded to the latest version of AEM? Is your contract length reflective of your project length to minimise unnecessary churn? Are your working conditions flexible? Are you offering remote opportunities?


THE DEMAND OVERVIEW The increase in demand for AEM resources comes from Adobe’s own success as a whole, as well as the overwhelming success of Adobe Marketing Cloud Sales Team. Taken from the Q1 earnings report of 2016 for Adobe, you can see below how profitable Adobe is across all of their offerings:



March 4th, 2016

February 27, 2015






Services and support






Total revenue

With regard to the Marketing Cloud offering, the Cloud achieved strong bookings growth, and record revenue of $377 million that represents year-over-year growth of 21 percent. That is just in one quarter alone. Adobe is also constantly releasing updates, new functionalities, and new add-ons that need to be implemented. With the sheer complexity of a customized AEM implementation, projects tend to take longer to finish, meaning there are less AEM contractors on the market. Many companies also know how valuable their AEM resources are, so they will try to switch their contractors to other internal projects, which keeps them off the market. The product itself is becoming more and more complex, which leads to longer projects. The best candidates are retained on projects much longer than they were in previous years. Both factors lead to the decreased supply in active candidates at any given time.

6 2016

AEM HOT SPOTS While AEM is recognized across the United States as one of the top enterprise content management systems available, there are cities in the US where demand is particularly high. Below is a list of the Top 10 Metro Areas with the highest demand for AEM developers in the last year. (Data is based on a report by CareerBuilder).


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Top City States

Demand Last 1 Year

Chicago, IL New York, NY San Francisco, CA Atlanta, GA Sunnyvale, CA Detroit, MI San Jose, CA Austin, TX Irvine, CA Minneapolis, MN

383 364 313 308 177 158 158 145 130 123

If you have any questions regarding this report, or you would like to speak further regarding AEM requirements within your business we would love to hear from you. Our recruitment team is based out of Soho, New York City and our consultants have a national remit, split by industry. If you have a need or for more information please reach out to our Director Dave Fox:

Director, Dave Fox


1 “ “ 2 During my recruitment and subsequent interviewing process at Adobe, the team at Computer Futures was very prompt, helpful and informative. They were able to secure a hiring decision a week earlier than anticipated, which was a huge relief for my family.” SR. RESOURCE ANALYST ADOBE

I have worked with Computer Futures for quite some time and they have been able to deliver a steady list of well qualified candidates for my requirements around the Adobe suite of products. They are very prompt and a pleasure to work with. If you have a need to quickly ramp up you team they would be a good resource to turn to.” SENIOR SOFTWARE ENGINEERING MANAGER AT&T




Computer Futures AEM Developer Report