Report: Marketing skills gap just getting bigger

Traditional marketing skills will no longer be viable, and there's an extreme of creative and scientific capability required in marketing teams,according to latest Australian job market research

Marketing is evolving at such a rapid rate the skills gap between marketers and what the role now needs is continuing to expand, according to the latest Hays Jobs Report.

Marketing skills most in demand for 2019 include digital project managers, content managers, data insight managers and analysts, and hybrid marketing managers with a blended skillset, the report says. It also says those with more traditional marketing skills who don't upskill will struggle.

According to Hays, in the months to June 2019, expect to see Australia’s talent mismatch between the marketing skills jobseekers possess, and those employers want, increase further, following five consecutive years of expansion.

Digital transformation is driving this skills gap, with demand remaining high for digital experts.

“There is no doubt technology is a driving force in the rapid evolution of the marketing role and it has had a profound impact across every facet of the discipline – from strategy, execution and measurement. It’s simply impossible to be an expert in every new channel, platform and tool available today, it’s just too specialist," senior regional director for Marketing & Digital at Hays recruiting, Susan Drew, told CMO.

"The fundamentals of marketing and marketing theory still underpin this evolution though and that is one thing that will remain consistent. Keeping up and being an expert are quite different, great marketers maintain a finger on the pulse of change with respect to how it’s impacting their industry.”

Content managers and writers, particularly those with an understanding of user experience (UX), will also be in high demand in response to the growing importance of content marketing across organisations and to ensure content is authentic, useful, and the most appropriate format for audience and purpose.

According to the report, 2019 will push marketers to develop and utilise all content formats including copy, video, infographics, graphics and animation, audio/podcasts, blogs, gifs, webinars and white papers.

Data insight managers and analysts are also in short supply as businesses continue to focus on ROI and evidence-based marketing to grow engagement and sales.

"There is a shortage of candidates with both technical and soft skills, who can use digital tools and pull data together to articulate an engaging narrative to present insights to stakeholders," the report stated. "Candidates must be able to create and implement strategies, use data to make evidence-based decisions, possess strong SEO and SEM skills, lead a team and prove ROI from strategy. A sole traditional skillset is no longer viable in today’s market."

Marketing automation skills are also in growing demand, as are campaign marketing managers  as organisations increasingly bring campaign management in-house.

With the convergence of marketing and technology, the phenomenal opportunities offered by customer data, and the power of digital and social channels to engage with audiences, the role of marketing has never been more in the spotlight than it is today, the report states.

"At this pivotal time for marketing, it is essential to upskill regularly. Undertake additional training and keep your skills up-to-date. Regardless of your role or level of seniority, it is essential to continuously upskill in order to stay relevant in an increasingly mechanised world," the report advises. 

According to Drew, skills that span marketing automation and marketing intelligence are most in demand. "Skills at opposite ends of the spectrum, those that support the harnessing of technology or that emphasise or maximise of the human factor are what marketers should also look to hone," she said.

"Creativity and ingenuity cannot be overlooked in this big data era, they are sources of competitive advantage where third-party technology and tools may not always be.

"The digitisation of traditional media channels, among other driving forces, will mean there will be no distinction between digital marketing and marketing – all marketers will need to be digitally savvy as result. Pragmatism will be a highly regarded attribute for the marketer of tomorrow. Across a complex marketing landscape, individuals who can simplify, adapt, and drive measurable impact will be far more sought after than their dogmatic counterparts."

Given the role of the marketing professional will continue to evolve over the next five years, upskilling is vital, Drew continued.

“The role of marketing will not change – to build the brand, drive demand and be the voice of the customer within an organisation. The roles within marketing may continue to evolve in line with a need to more strongly link the marketing and IT functions within organisations due to the increasing amount of martech in use," she said. "Hybrid roles have already begun to surface in this space and we envisage this to continue.

"The emergence of new c-suite roles and the merging of traditional c-suite roles will continue as organisations seek the optimal organisational structure and operating model in the face of transformational business change. Any commonalities with regard to marketing c-suite roles and structure are likely to be seen more so on an industry level. Product or service, B2B or B2C - these are some of the factors that have a greater baring on who should ultimately own the customer or define the tech roadmap within an organisation."

Regardless, the increased need for collaboration at the highest level and throughout an organisation will only become more evident, Drew concluded.

"Online courses, subscriptions and networking events with other professionals are a great way to keep knowledge and skills relevant. LinkedIn now has a wealth of information and discussion groups spanning all areas of marketing. It’s really about staying connected to the industry," she said.

"Nominating yourself for stretch projects that expose you to other parts of the organisation – technology, customer service, finance, operations will only help round out your broader commercial view, which for the marketing generalist on a path to CMO is invaluable.”

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