How quickly things change! Just a few short years ago, it seemed as if the bottom had fallen out for marketing talent-including writers, graphic designers, videographers, and more. In a declining economy, marketing budgets are often the first to feel the pain. But companies have actively looked for less expensive and more cost-effective ways to get the word out about their products and services. Additionally, Google has tinkered with its algorithms to provide SEO rewards to those who can supply rich, varied, and original content on a regular basis. And so, demand for talent has outstripped supply.
The competition for marketing talent is heating up. As technology and techniques proliferate, expertise is important--and creativity is paramount. As in-house marketing departments compete with agencies, and content marketers strike out on their own, the competition for the best talent is hotter than ever.
In 2015, The Creative Group, a staffing firm, conducted research in line with this idea. According to its findings, 58% of executive respondents--the highest percentage since 2010--feel it is challenging to find creative professionals these days. The areas of highest demand for talent are content marketing and creative/art direction (both at 27%), and brand/product management and print design/production (both at 26%).
Rapidly Rising Demand for Creative Professionals
That uptick in demand comes as no surprise to Ester Frey, VP of technology staffing services for The Creative Group and Robert Half Technology. Certain types of positions in particular, says Frey, are in especially high demand: user interface specialists, mobile app developers, and data analytics professionals. "Basically, companies are looking to improve their digital presence--translating data to business objectives is particularly in demand," she says. It's all based on supply and demand, Frey states, pointing to the very low unemployment numbers in certain fields: marketing manager, 3%; designers, 3.5%; web developers, 4.4%; and marketing research analysts, 4.5%. "Those are very low numbers," she says. "So if you're looking for a designer, you're having a tough time just because there's not a lot to choose from in the marketplace."
Companies are both looking for in-house talent and continuing to outsource to firms and individuals, Frey says. She also notes that her firm helps companies with both types of searches. Why the growing demand? "I think there's just been more of a focus of all companies to have a better online presence," Frey says. "Just think about the mobile revolution--it's touched all aspects of our economy."
In addition to developers and user experience specialists, the demand for talent who can help to crunch the numbers will also be increasingly critical. From mobile, to wearables, to the Internet of Things (IoT), the data deluge isn't likely to be letting up any time soon. "We're going to have to get people who are really knowledgeable about processing tons of data and boiling it down into something that is actionable and makes business sense," says Frey.
"Demand has increased because every company has had some type of growth around the way you and I, as consumers, operate. We expect things to be mobile and interactive, and we expect a different design experience," says Frey. That's not likely to change any time soon, she predicts. "Those skills will continue to grow and be in demand-companies that haven't spent money on that in the past are going to have to in order to be competitive and relevant."