Digital Archivist Salary: Pay Rates for Digital Asset Managers & Archivists

The question “if digital asset managers and digital archivists are key to a successful DAM implementation what are their typical salaries?” got me thinking. 

I recently came across an email set by the Henry Stewart DAM conference group. Henry Stewart conferences are a great resource for digital archivists and those wanting to learn all things about DAM and I have had the privilege to attend several of their shows.

At the bottom of the email was a link to a few videos made at last year’s New York conference. One was a few interviews of archivists and vendors attending the show explaining how their experiences with digital asset management solutions have helped improved their process. It was a quick view. But of more interest was the 30 minute video of consultant Theresa Regli’s presentation.

Theresa now works for KlarisIP in London and previously she was with the Realstory Group in the United States. If you have never heard Theresa present, I highly recommend it. Her use of analogies is terrific and often entertaining and her talks are always full of great information for digital archivists.


Engines of Empathy

This particular presentation, titled “Engines of Empathy” concentrates about process and situational awareness of assets and anticipating customer needs. She suggests that a company should spend 3 to 4 times the amount on people and process than the actual DAM tool. This is most likely a stretch for most organizations. Companies tend to spend the money on the tool but don’t think about the digital archivist needed to make sure standards are adhered to, such as metadata and governance.

A digital archivist is needed to understand the mission

A digital archivist is needed to understand the mission about the use of the digital assets and how they need to get delivered to their customers. They also understand the importance of re-use of assets to get the ROI on the investment. It’s not just about the tool, it is about the person or people organizing the content as well.

So if an archivist or digital asset manager is a key factor in getting the best and most successful implementation of a DAM, what is the typical salary?

What are the job responsibilities for digital archivists and asset managers?

First here is a snap shot from a current posting for a Digital Asset Manager position on SimplyHired:

Role Priorities

  • Responsible for managing uploads, metadata and organizing all assets within the DAM 
  • Take DAM system through final stages of implementation 
  • Work cross-functionally with various teams to help create more efficient workflows as they relate to the DAM 
  • Take on the daily file managements needs of a fast paced organization
  • Responsible for managing all administrative functions and maintaining the DAM system 
  • Users & Permissions 
  • Metadata Schema 
  • Keyword Taxonomy 
  • Keep organized and up to date ensuring all users have access to all assets needed based on permissions 

So what should one expect to be paid in this position?

According to an article in the New York Times “Digital Archivists, Now in Demand – “Compensation varies wildly because it’s an emerging area,” said Keith Gurtzweiler, vice president for recruiting at Library Associates. “Consultants who can make recommendations on systems can make $150 an hour.” Those who “manage them once they’re up and running and maintain the machinery,” he said, make from the $70,000’s up to $100,000.”

What is the actual salary for a digital archivist?

This article is several years old and I was curious what references state.

According to the digital archivist salaries section on the Comparably site,  “The average Digital Archivist in the U.S. makes $63,269 with a high of $86,040.”

SimplyHired’s digital asset manager section on their website lists the average salary of digital media archivist salary at $61,000 with a high end topping out at around $140,000.

A digital asset manager salary survey on LinkedIn has the medium salary for digital asset managers and archivists at $60,000 annually with a high end of $100,000. 

A digital asset manager average salary across all industries is listed at $71,942 on glassdoor 


How to Advance Your Digital Asset Manager / Digital Archivist Career (and Increase Your Salary!)

Naturally salaries will vary based on industry, experience, education and size of company but there are opportunities to grow and demand a larger salary. Someone with a master’s degree in archival science, library science or a related field can demand more salary than with a bachelor’s degree. Voluntary certifications will also help as well as joining professional organizations.

Joining such organizations can provide a variety of resources that may help with career advancement, including continued education options, access to academic publications, and annual meetings for networking opportunities. Virtual communities such as LinkedIn groups can also provide resources for financial advancement. Writing a blog can increase exposure and value as well.

Clearly a digital archivist or digital asset manager is well worth the investment and will provide the best adoption of a DAM system and allow companies to get the best ROI on the cost of the tool.



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