With all the talk of recession, marketing departments are having to become more accountable and resourceful. Many experts believe this already is and will further escalate the need for Australian businesses to invest in digital marketing, as their uptake to date has been slower than many other major economies.
But what impact if any will this anticipated shift in media have on the demand for Digital professionals?
As late as November last year, Marketing Magazine confirmed that Digital salaries were going from strength to strength, as organisations struggle to source qualified Digital professionals.
But have things changed in the past 5 months?
I interviewed Jeff Estok from Digital Search Specialists “MitchelLake” to get the low down on the Digital recruitment market in Australia as is stands.
Teresa Sperti; What impact has the current economic climate had on recruitment of Digital Marketing professionals?
Jeff Estok; There is no doubt that digital marketing is under pressure due to the financial crisis, though not to the same extent as traditional advertising. Some companies have a headcount freeze in place, and are not replacing staff, whilst others are slower to hire or utilising contract labour.
This means that there are fewer jobs available and more candidates seeking positions than at this time last year.
Teresa Sperti; What trends are you witnessing on the agency and client side?
Jeff Estok; On the Agency side, we are seeing re-bundling and an attempt to increase the breadth of digital talent. A decade ago when the digital revolution began, most Agencies were happy to buy or set up stand-alone digital offerings, but are shifting back to an integrated offering. We have interest from a few Agency groups at present who are seeking to acquire mid-size digital Agencies and integrate them in an attempt to provide clients with end-to-end solutions.
On the client side, there seems to be a degree of candidate dissatisfaction with their organisations’ failure to fully embrace digital.
Teresa Sperti; What trends are you witnessing at the various career stages of Digital professionals?
Jeff Estok; The hardest positions to fill tend to be the more junior and senior positions.
The junior positions are tough because of the salary expectations of people with 2-5 years’ experience. For Junior positions it is important for Digital marketing professionals to understand that as the market matures there is more competition and salaries are becoming more aligned with traditional marketing roles.
In terms of senior level positions, the difficulty is that the job specs are so tight that very few candidates exist that fulfil all the requirements.
Digital creative talent is another area where there appears to be a shortfall, with Agencies having us perform UK searches for new talent.
Teresa Sperti; What trends are you seeing on the Digital salaries front?
Jeff Estok; There is no doubt that in some areas, digital salaries have ‘normalised’. Gone are the days where an employee could demand a $20,000 pay increase for year-on-year performance, particularly in the oversaturated, mid-level positions.
Senior level salaries appear to have held, but once again, due to tight specs and few suitable candidates, the laws of supply-and-demand come into play.
Jeff’s final advice to marketers is:
First, make sure you understand what quite a few Agencies don’t yet—that the communications landscape has changed from ‘commercials’ to ‘content’, and from ‘push’ to ‘pull’, so your content must be relevant and engaging, or consumers will not pull it through.
Going digital also begins a ‘conversation’ between the brand and the consumer. Make sure you are committed to this new paradigm, that you are adequately resourced to facilitate this, and that this strategy is embraced and endorsed by senior management, so that it will survive your eventual departure. Enduring Brands outlast changes of Brand Managers.
About Jeff Estok & MitchelLake
Jeff Estok is a past Managing Director of the Ad Agency Clemenger BBDO and is Partner – Media/Advertising for digital search specialists MitchelLake.