Desperately seeks digital skills: recruiters say there’s a disconnect

Recruitment company Hays says a growing number of offshore marketing professionals are being pulled in to roles in New Zealand and Australia that require specialist digital skills.

“Today digital marketing managers need to be able to determine if a visitor to their company’s website, iPhone app or Facebook page is a return visitor, a loyalty member and what offers they may respond to,” says Hays general manager Jason Walker. “In the current jobs market small businesses and agencies are fighting for personnel who can do this, as well as manage accounts, run great campaigns and build content and social media marketing strategies that make an impact.”

Walker says two big gaps in the local skills base are in knowledge of how to use big data to generate new revenue and how to use social media to grow a brand. These skills have more than likely not been part of a marketer’s training.

“You’ll find the candidates coming through have been developing that in their jobs at corporates that are at the forefront of doing these things.”

In Sydney Hays finds several digital marketing jobs coming through each week but a lack of suitably skilled candidates to fill the roles, and this trend is also emerging in New Zealand, says Walker.

“There’s a really limited skill set across New Zealand and Australia. People are pulling in professionals from Australia and the US for that work.”

He says it depends on the size of the company as to whether those sought are generalists with digital skills in their arsenal, or are digital marketing specialists.

Hays cites a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit in July that showed most marketers lack the skill sets needed to understand and glean insights from big data. In the survey, 82 percent of marketers said career skills have changed, with 37 percent indicating they don’t have the skills required to analyse and understand the vast amount of data available.

The survey said the inability to apply data insights was holding back nearly half of marketers from identifying strategies that can impact the bottom line, according to Hays.

It says candidates need to upskill, and organisational leaders can play a part in this by investing in training and resources.

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