Report: Eight in 10 marketing and digital professionals are looking for a new job

Latest Hays survey finds demand for marketing professionals is the highgest of any professional vertical over the past 15 months, as a desire to switch roles heats up

Demand for marketing professionals has increased by 33 per cent over the last 15 months, the highest percentage of any professional vertical, the latest Hays Salary Guide reports.  

Released this week, the latest FY21/22 Hays Salary Guide is based on a survey of nearly 3500 organisations representing 8.8 million employees and incorporating more than 3400 employees and 3800 employers.  

Across these, 37 per cent of marketing and digital employers surveyed said they’re looking to increase headcount over the next 12 months. In addition, 58 per cent of these employers will increase salaries in their next review, up from the 31 per cent who did so in their last review.  

The report also exposed a whopping 81 per cent of marketing and digital professionals looking for a new job, plan to look or are open to new opportunities in the next 12 months. Key reasons for this desire to move include poor management style or workplace culture, an uncompetitive salary and a lack of promotional opportunities.  

According to the report, seven in 10 marketing and digital professional respondents think a raise of 3 per cent of more would better reflect their individual performance. However, only 9 per cent of employers are planning to award increases of 3 per cent or more, with 49 per cent expected to raise salaries at the lower level of 3 per cent or below.  

Other notable specific insights from the survey were that 61 per cent of marketing and digital employers restructured their department or organisation to keep up with changing business needs, against an overall average of 62 per cent. Of these 44 per cent of total respondents said restructure was a direct result of COVID-19, while 34 per cent nominated a change in required skills.  

Hays regional director of marketing and digital, Eliza Kirkby, said it’s clear the value of salary increases is driving a wedge between employers and their employees.  

“On the one hand, we have over half of marketing and digital employers intending to increase salaries in the year ahead, which is a remarkable sign of the confidence employers exhibit today,” she said. “On the other, professionals say the value of these increases is far less than they deserve.  

“This is creating a gap between what employers will offer and employees say they are worth. This divide must be managed sensitively if employers are to retain staff and attract new talent in short supply.”  

Another way of bridging the gap is investing in training, development and career progression, Kirkby continued. According to the wider Hays survey, 65 per cent of skilled professionals cited learning and developing new skills as their most important priority, ahead of a pay rise (58 per cent).  

It was also clear building skills was a focus during the last 12 months. Nearly half of respondents overall stated they had worked to build soft skills (46 per cent), 45 per cent had worked on their technical skills (45 per cent) and one in five undertook higher or additional qualifications.  

“After a year in which many skilled professionals put career plans on hold, they are focusing once more on their long-term goals,” Kirkby said. “A lack of promotional opportunities is one factor driving professionals into the jobs market today, behind only a poor management style or workplace culture and an uncompetitive salary. This makes re-investing in career progression pathways and staff development a sensible strategy for the year ahead.”  

Across the wider survey, Hays identified a number of macro trends impacting all sectors. One is recognition of the talent shortage, with 64 per cent of employers expecting skills shortages to impact the effective operation of their organisation or department in a significant or minor way over the next 12 months.  

Another big trend is working remotely. According to the Hays report, only 7 per cent of skilled professionals who worked remotely during the pandemic wish to return to their workplace full-time. By contrast, 63 per cent of employers would like their staff to be working one to three days remotely, with the remainder in the office.  

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