Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: Is There a Risk of Another Skills Gap Emerging in the Marketing Sector?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: Is There a Risk of Another Skills Gap Emerging in the Marketing Sector?

Article excerpt

Following cutbacks to graduate recruitment and training programmes at many organisations, the industry is likely to be facing a worrying shortage of high-calibre marketing practitioners.

YES

Roy Hoolahan, Managing director, Ball & Hoolahan

It may seem that there is a new skills gap as the economy picks up, but there has been a chronic shortage of experienced marketing talent for the past decade. Even in the recession, companies experienced shortages as they held out for specific marketing skills.

On the positive side, skills have been in shortage because marketing has been embraced and accepted in sectors far beyond FMCG brand/advertising roles. New technologies have created much-sought-after specialist skills such as ecommerce, online CRM, SEO/PPC and acquisition/retention.

On the negative side, two recessions have led companies to make marketing less attractive to high-calibre graduates by reducing recruitment, slowing career progression, freezing salaries, cutting budgets, downsizing and reducing the importance of marketing.

Fundamental solutions include raising pay scales, investing in training/graduate programmes and more flexible recruitment that looks at transferable skills and potential, rather than proven experience.

YES

Lisa Thomas, Chief executive, M&C Saatchi Group

As everyone in the sector knows, there is a fierce scramble over the best talent right now. The UK may have emerged from its recessionary shackles, but there are still fewer jobs around and, in particular, less opportunities for young stars hoping to break into adland.

It's understandable - training and nurturing new recruits requires vast investments of time and money: something currently in short supply.

But we need to remember that people are our business. And while we won't ever be able to offer them City-style bonuses, we can produce fun and rewarding environments that allow motivated, creative people to flourish.

We're recruiting eight graduates this year, and giving each of them a taste of all disciplines across the group. It's an investment, but one that will produce indispensable, multi-skilled talent.

Although tough decisions do need to be made, stopping investment in recruitment and training shouldn't be one of them. Otherwise, we run the risk of affecting not just individual agencies, but the industry as a whole.

MAYBE

Will Arnold-Baker, Managing director, Publicis

2011's a funny time to be in marketing. …

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