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Digital marketing skills shortage

05 December 2014 Candidate Blogs / Client Blogs

Surge in demand for digital marketers leads to skills shortage across marketing sector

Where are all the digital marketing professionals? With 71% of businesses planning to increase their investment in digital marketing, the demand for specialist digital marketers with strong content creation, social media, SEM and online community management expertise has significantly increased.

Brands are increasingly taking advantage of digital channels for the delivery of their marketing campaigns in response to the shift in the way companies communicate with their audiences. Today there is a real focus on building communities and using content and social media to facilitate brand engagement directly with audiences to develop an awareness, as well as an affinity, with that brand. It’s not just about increasing brand exposure but establishing a position in the digital market as a thought-leader, driving quality traffic to the site, lead generation and improved search rankings.

The result? A shift in mindset to prioritise investment in digital marketing, resulting in new roles being created by employers to move their digital marketing in-house where it may have been previously outsourced.

Talent shortage within digital marketing sector

The Econsultancy/Responsys Marketing Budgets 2013 Report revealed that 71% of businesses plan to increase their investment in digital marketing compared with 20% looking to increase their offline marketing spend. In addition, a 2013 report looking into content marketing in the UK by the Content Marketing Institute revealed that 94% of respondents use the tactic in their campaigns.

This surge in demand for digital marketing professionals from companies looking to quickly step up their game in this space has inevitably led to a skills shortage across the marketing sector. Unsurprisingly, the limited number of experienced and skilled candidates seeking a new job don’t stay on the market for long.

Latest employment data from The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) - the APSCo monthly hiring trends report - reveals that the marketing and media recruitment sector continues to suffer from a talent shortage. Permanent placements have collapsed by 21% year on year, but actual job openings have risen by 2% - indicative of an ongoing shortage of experienced and available digital marketing candidates.

Offline marketing still key

Despite this change in emphasis there is still a demand for marketing professionals with an offline marketing background – particularly evident within the charity and not for profit sectors where there is still a strong focus on print and offline marketing as key strategies.

There is also increasing uncertainty from businesses regarding digital marketing's ROI, with 18% of respondents to the Econsultancy/Responsys report rating their understanding of it as 'poor' or 'very poor' – an increase from 10% in 2010.

With many digital marketing strategies still in their infancy, it’s time to up-skill and gain experience within these sought-after sectors; evolving your career to meet the changing demands of the market.

At Morgan Hunt our dedicated marketing and communications team maintains in-depth knowledge of the sector. We understand how industry and market developments affect hiring trends and we’re able to advise clients on effective recruitment strategies and advise our candidates on how to adapt career plans to the changing requirements of the market. To find out more contact us or email


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