A new survey from Online Marketing Institute in conjunction with Kelly Staffing and ClickZ has discovered a majority of brands and enterprise organizations rank digital marketing very important, but only eight percent claimed to have marketing teams that were strong across all digital marketing channels.
Surveying a total of 750 brands and agencies ranging from small businesses to global enterprises, the study found a “substantial gap” between the number of organizations searching for employees with strong digital marketing skills, and the availability of qualified applicants.
While 71 percent of large brand/enterprise organizations believe their digital marketing team is strong in some areas, their employees exhibit mediocrity/weakness in others when importance and strength are analyzed together, with sizable gaps in every area studied.
When asked about the type of digital marketing candidates being sought, 34 percent of respondents said they were looking to hire both “generalists” and “specialists” with 22 percent claiming the need for “specialists” was growing. Only 10 percent of respondents said the need to hire “generalists” digital marketers was on the rise.
Drilling down into the different digital marketing channels, the study found a wide gap between the importance assigned to specific digital marketing skills, and the perceived strength of their digital marketing teams.
According to the findings, 76 percent of the brands and large enterprises believed it was very important or important for digital marketing job candidates to have analytics skills, but only 39 percent rated their company’s analytics person or team as strong or much stronger than other teams, leaving a 39 percent gap.
The smallest talent gap occurred in digital advertising, with 50 percent of the survey respondents believing it was very important or important for applicants to possess digital advertising skills, while 38 percent claimed their digital marketing person or team was stronger or much stronger than other teams.
The study revealed 67 percent of large enterprises said they were in need of applicants with three to five years of digital marketing experience.
Not being able to find qualified applicants resulted in 40 percent of the survey respondents, “Not able to fund sufficient talent to handle their workload,” with 36 percent of brands claiming young applicants just out of school did not possess enough experience to land open positions.
There was also a disconnect between applicants who possessed strong marketing skills and strong digital skills. “We have found people who are good at ‘digital’ but poor at marketing; occasionally vice versa, but few candidates with standout capabilities on both sides,” said one survey respondent.
Even with what appears to be an overwhelming lack of digital marketing talent, few of the brands or large enterprises surveyed instituted training programs to help grow employee skill levels, with only 22 percent claiming to have any such offerings. Agencies and consultancies were a little further ahead, but not by much with 31 percent claiming to provide level-setting programs.