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Rise In Demand For Marketers


21st September 2021

By Emma Rutherford

The world of work continues to rebound with UK job vacancies reaching an all-time high of over 1 million. Across the market, 29% of businesses expect to increase recruitment activity before the end of September with media/marketing/advertising, PR, and sales leading the way (Totaljobs Hiring Trends Index).

We've experienced a marked shift in demand locally too. Marketing online job vacancies rose by almost 26% in Aberdeen city and shire compared to pre-pandemic levels as employers across every sector strive to recruit the talent needed to achieve new business objectives. Most in-demand roles are for managers with responsibility for internal and external communications, and web designers.

Marketing online job vacancies role by almost 26%

From personal experience, I'm managing the recruitment of twice as many marketing roles this year compared to 2020, and most recently, demand for immediately available candidates has increased, reflecting the urgency with which employers are seeking to hire on a temp and permanent basis.

Reasons Behind The Rise In Demand For Marketeers

Key themes contributing to this shift include:

Pandemic Disruption

The disruption caused by the pandemic has reinforced how important marketing is for creating a sustainable pipeline of work. Emerging from the pandemic there's a need to be visible, to story tell around how your company has evolved over the last 18 months, its purpose, how it adds value and what it can do to help current and future customers.

Energy Transition

2021 is the year of climate action and the UK is committed to reducing emissions to net-zero by 2050. While the energy sector is well placed to leverage the opportunities, the clean energy revolution poses challenges for companies adapting to this rapidly evolving market.

Strategy Evaluation

The pandemic and energy transition have reinforced the importance of innovation, creativity, problem-solving, and adaptability. Senior management teams are re-evaluating how to improve business sustainability and this is creating interesting strategy work for experienced marketing consultants.

Stakeholder Engagement

What companies stand for and how they operate have become increasingly important to stakeholders who choose business relationships and brand loyalty based on shared values. The emerging skills crisis is also influencing how companies convey their culture and career opportunities as competition for talent intensifies.

In Demand Expertise

It's surprising how often the brief for a job role will evolve as we get into discussions with hiring clients about business objectives, competitor activity, current in-house skills, and headcount budget. If you work in communications and marketing then you appreciate the spectrum of jobs that sweep across science and art in this discipline – from analytical number crunchers to highly visual creative artists.

Demand for immediately available candidates has increased

In-house recruitment has tended to be for manager-level positions and candidates in the strongest position are those with a general skill set. But the story for marketing agencies is rather different as Mike Wilson, Managing Director of marketing and design agency, Mearns & Gill, explains:

"Clients typically approach marketing agencies to provide skills beyond the capabilities of their internal resources. This is relevant in the current marketplace with organisations seeking help on their brand identity, core messaging and improving their marketing communications. Post pandemic, many organisations are strategically revisiting the look and feel of their business, what they stand for and how to authentically connect with their target customers in an increasingly digital world.

Digital marketing is not simply about posting on social media

"The traditional agency skillset of graphic design, brand strategy, and website development is all still relevant and continues to be in great demand but beyond this, there is a new emerging demand for technical specialists to provide clients with a competitive advantage and real commercial results from their digital marketing activity. Clients are waking up to the fact that digital marketing is not simply about posting on social media, but a powerful marketing tool that provides demonstrable results and a tangible return on investment.

"True technical specialists are in short supply, and agencies are competing to ensure that they have the network of talent to offer these skills to their clients."

Getting Ahead

How can marketing professionals make the most of the opportunities available right now? My advice to job seekers is:

Quantify Your Achievements

I'm baffled when marketers hide their achievements by not providing detail and context in their CV and during an interview. I see this all the time! Start singing your own praises. For example, you could state that you increased website traffic or achieved record conference attendees but these answers are much more compelling because they quantify the success:

  • Increased website traffic by 25% over 12 months by creating and implementing an SEO strategy.
  • Achieved record number of sign-ups to the virtual annual conference through paid Facebook advertising which generated 2,500 visitors to the sign-up page.

Before you go into an interview, understand who it is you're going to meet. If the employer is undertaking a thorough process you should be interviewed by someone who also works in the profession – it's the only way they can really drill down into your experience and ask pertinent questions. But, in turn, you need to be ready to respond with thorough answers.

Be More Responsive

In this job market, taking 4 or 5 days to respond to a query from a recruiter is too long, making you look complacent and putting you in a position where you could lose out to someone who is more responsive and communicative.

Savvy With Your Social Media

It's another one that might seem obvious but is a blind spot for many job seekers. Designed to look for negative behaviours such as racism or bullying, social media checks complement a range of standard recruitment checks including references and criminal record checks. While you know your profile doesn't have a whiff of these extreme behaviours, consider whether there's any content that might cause an employer to hesitate taking your application forward.

Get Certified

There's no better way to learn than real-life, on-the-job experience but if you're starting out in your career and worry you don't have the experience to illustrate your capabilities, then get certified. It validates your knowledge for employers and there are a plethora of free courses to try by industry heavyweights such Google, Hubspot, SEMRush, Udemy, and Facebook.

How The Employer Will Contribute To Your CPD

Mike Wilson, sheds more light on my final point: "Marketers need to be constantly learning how to manage the vast amounts of data now available through the digital footprints left by consumers - collecting, analysing, and utilising data insights are an integral part of helping an organisation meet its overall marketing objectives."

"New technologies are constantly being developed as well as enhancements to existing technologies so continuing professional development is paramount, ensuring companies and individuals keep themselves up to date and nurture the right skills in this rapidly evolving discipline."

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