Marketing is often one of the first teams within a company to take a hit when a financial crisis strikes, and the Covid-19 pandemic was no different. But with the economy now almost entirely reopened, the sector has bounced back to growth, with recruiters reporting a substantial rise in the number of marketing opportunities available.
There was a 302% rise in opportunities for marketers in the six months to August 2021 compared to the same period last year, according to data gathered for Marketing Week by job site Reed.
The market hit an all-time low in April last year, when there were just 2,125 jobs on offer. By June this year, however, the number of open roles had risen as high as 14,055, an increase of 561%.
The data shows marketing managers have been in particularly high demand, accounting for more than one in 10 roles over the past six months. Roles paying between £25,000 and £50,000 have been most in demand, accounting for 65% of available vacancies.
An investigation by Marketing Week has found executive search firms and recruitment agencies covering the marketing sector have been experiencing the same trend, as employers look to close skill gaps.
We are seeing heightened demand for CMOs and marketing directors as businesses continue to transform.
David Nobbs, Grace Blue
According to research by recruitment agency Hays, almost three-quarters of employers say they have experienced skills shortages over the past year, and as such the number of marketing jobs the agency has available has been on the rise since the New Year.
Ball and Hoolahan’s senior consultant Danielle Lavin also claims to have seen a “huge increase” in the number of marketing roles, as companies recognise they have gaps that need to be filled. “We do tend to find that at the beginning of a crisis, marketing people are some of the first to go as their value or ROI isn’t always obvious to top level decision makers who are looking at the bottom line,” she says. “So now there are lots of gaps that need filling.”
Marketing salaries jump ‘by as much as 50%’ as job market bounces backSimilarly, marketing recruitment agency EMR experienced a 10% increase in vacancies from the first quarter of 2021 to the second quarter, followed by a further 15% increase going into the third quarter of the year. Michael Page, meanwhile, claims to be seeing around three times the number of marketing roles coming in now compared to the first quarter of this year.
That rate of growth has begun to level out over the past month or so, Michael Page’s senior consultant Will Pendlington says. However, demand is “definitely still there”, and “much higher” than the agency has seen throughout the past 18 months.
Because the number of vacancies has increased so dramatically, it is currently a candidate-driven market, adds Pendlington, with far more open roles than marketers applying. A role that would once have received 100 responses is now receiving only 20 or 30.
“With so many open roles and the demand for marketing talent high, it’s a really good time for candidates to move as they are in a great position to negotiate their packages with employers who are in desperate need of good talent to keep up with the change in demand,” he advises.
However, in contrast to Reed’s data, the recruitment specialists are mostly seeing demand concentrated on mid-senior level candidates.
Ball and Hoolahan’s Lavin says she is seeing more openings for mid-level candidates “who can do everything”, from strategy through to delivery, while Kindred director Katie Jackson suggests this focus on “ready-made” candidates with experience is placing “increased pressure” on the mid to senior level marketing talent pool.
With such a high number of opportunities and not enough experienced candidates to fill them, salaries among mid to senior level marketers are on the rise by as much as 50%.Why marketing is becoming a career of choice for young people
Executive search firm Grace Blue’s managing partner and head of consumer, David Nobbs, confirms the number of senior level marketing opportunities has continued to increase since the height of the pandemic, and is continuing to rise steadily.
“We are seeing heightened demand for CMOs and marketing directors as businesses continue to transform, including launching into new markets, driving growth and pivoting around their customer propositions,” he says. Businesses are also looking for more specialist skill sets in technology, data, and ecommerce, which requires a level of experience.
But he also believes there will be more of a rise in junior opportunities in the medium term, pointing out many large organisations are pushing into grad schemes and apprenticeships.
“In a pandemic, you cut costs and often cut the least experienced people to save cash, or lots of businesses partnered and outsourced on certain things,” Nobbs explains. “But there are loads of companies that are insourcing marketing support as well, so it’s a changing picture.”
On the other hand, fellow executive search firm Fortune Hill warns that any rise in junior job opportunities could be a “red herring”, as an increase in job opportunities now won’t necessarily cover all the roles that were cut over the past 18 months.
“The pandemic has forced many organisations to try and streamline operations. As a result many functional teams including marketing have seen headcount reductions,” Fortune Hill associate director John Hunter points out.
“We are seeing more marketing roles being advertised at a junior level but this is somewhat of a red herring, as many restructures and post pandemic departures have created these new opportunities. There are still less roles than existed before the pandemic.”