Has the recruitment crisis hit the digital marketing industry? | Agency Forever | Open mic


In the week that gas stations across the country have dried up due to a shortage of truck drivers, it seems fair to say Britain has braced for a jobs crisis , but not to the one she had.

Instead of the expected spike in unemployment following the pandemic, businesses across all industries are struggling to fill positions. Britain braced for a different kind of jobs crisis last summer, with widespread unemployment forecasts as the government began a first phase-out of the leave scheme. Instead, it faces a recruitment crisis, with 1.66 million vacancies to be filled, according to the Confederation for Recruitment and Employment (REC). A study by UK Chambers of Commerce found that 38% of companies expect to hire more workers in the next three months and 70% of companies have difficulty hiring staff.

A number of contributing factors led to the crisis: 1.3 million non-UK workers left the UK during the pandemic due to Brexit, and due to post-Brexit immigration rules there have been a sharp drop in the number of foreign workers entering the UK. Additionally, many people found work in a different industry during the pandemic, a factor that hit the hospitality industry particularly hard, as did the fact that some workers are avoiding jobs in consumer sectors due to Covid issues. . Add to all that the ongoing leave schedule, plus the hiring bottleneck created in a rush to reopen after Covid restrictions are lifted, and you have a perfect storm.

But the UK is not only facing a shortage of truck drivers, nursing staff and hotel staff: it appears that digital marketing agencies have also been hit by a recruitment crisis, with more than half having struggling to find candidates with the right expertise.

A study by UK Chambers of Commerce found that 60% of the marketing and media companies that participated said they had difficulty recruiting. In addition, the REC has listed programmers and software development professionals in their list of the 10 occupations where worker shortages are most acute, with 68,929 active vacancies.

The annual survey of digital agencies carried out by content creation specialist Verblio reveals that, despite the pandemic, the vast majority of agencies surveyed said their agency had seen its activity increase in the past 12 months. It appears that while the digital industry was (like every other sector) prepared for a tough test during the pandemic, many companies have instead increased their online presence to combat the effects of lockdowns, which appears to have benefited to the digital marketing industry. In fact, the Verbilo report found that an average digital agency gained over nine new clients in the past 12 months and lost less than four.

In a quote for Decision Marketing, Verblio CEO Steve Pockross said, “Despite a crazy year like 2020, agencies continue to see the value of content marketing and it’s heartening to hear that so many people have been hired during the pandemic, referral being the most desirable skill.

It’s no surprise that search engine optimization (SEO) specialists are in high demand. At the height of the pandemic, it seemed like brands were leaning into SEO as their preferred form of marketing so as not to look “pushy” or take advantage of a crisis. For example, Vistaprint has launched a new line of face masks, but rather than launching the masks through PPC, re-marketing, or Google Shopping, Vistaprint has focused all of its efforts on organic search.

Emily Shirly, Managing Director of Vistaprint UK and Ireland, said: “We decided very specifically not to stress this… we didn’t think it was appropriate to be pushy. Of course, SEO is also seen as the ‘free’ side of digital marketing: it doesn’t require an ad spend budget in the same way that Adwords and paid social media do, so it can appeal to businesses on a budget. , or new to digital marketing.

When it comes to the skills most in demand, Verblio found SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to rank highest, followed by Creative Thinking and Ideation, Writing, Analysis. data, social media and paid social media advertising. However, 51% of the agencies that participated in the study said they had difficulty finding candidates with the right skills, and 52% said they even had difficulty hiring contractors.

As in many other industries, the problem seems to be finding people with the right skills for the job.

Jane Gratton, Head of People’s Policy at UK Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘Whether people found work in a different industry, changed their working habits or left the UK during the recession, businesses have now struggling to find the people they need. . It is essential that business, government and the skills system work together to find solutions.

“Adopting more flexible and remote working models will help companies attract skills from a larger talent pool.

But we also need access to fast and agile training and retraining opportunities for adults in the labor market, as well as a flexible and cost-effective immigration system that ensures quick access to skills when needed. these cannot be recruited locally.

What is clear is that more needs to be done to improve the skills of teams and attract more talented individuals to the digital marketing industry.

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