Image: Flazingo Photos/Flickr Image: Flazingo Photos/Flickr

January is always a busy time for marketing firms to review their New Year opportunities and develop a predictive recruitment strategy, aligned with candidates looking to move into new and more challenging roles for the year ahead.

While Q1 brings new prospects, some things, like the Digital Skills Gap, hasn’t moved an inch and is still one of the highest priorities for companies moving into a successful 2017.

In this artilce, we debated why companies struggle to recruit digital talent, and touched on some of the challenges the marketing industry faces when recruiting digital talent; so we thought it only apt, in this high recruiting season that we explore how you can hire, and retain the best digital and tech talent for your budding needs.

What are the challenges for marketing agencies?

What we explored from our previous article was that many marketing teams are relying on digital natives (meaning a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and so familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age), instead of upskilling their current work force on digital skills.

The issue with this strategy is that many organisations are relying on the skill and competency of millennials, having ‘grown up’ in a digital sphere personally, overlooking the fundamental differences between personal and commercial social outreach, which means that regardless of base knowledge many people coming into a digital focused role will still require some additional commercial based skills training.

Another issue with recruiting digital talent is competitiveness. The marketing industry has of course always been incredibly competitive, not only are they competing against each other for digital talent but now also from outside of the industry, against external sectors, innovative start-ups, or even their own start-ups.

What can you do about it?

Professional Academy, who is one of the world’s leading training providers for the marketing industry think that their newly launched Digital Marketing Diploma will mitigate some of the challenges marketing companies face when recruiting and retaining talent.

Michael O’Flynn, Marketing Director for Professional Academy says, “One of the biggest issues we see within marketing firms is that they look at digital skills as one-dimensional, instead of a 360° view of the digital marketing output. There are so many digital fields that a company can benefit from, whether they are specific to a direct activity or tactic (such as an online client engagement manager or SEO specialist), or generalist for example a Digital Marketer or Communications Manager, who may be responsible for a number of areas within the business from social media management through to digital communication, website maintenance and digital customer relations.”

“To breakdown these misconceptions, companies must have a clear understanding of what they are looking for, not only commercially, but skills wise too, before they even start to source the right digital talent available”.

How to find the best digital talent

The digital skills shortage has only exasperated the challenges of recruitment in our industry. Marketing in recruitment has become more creative in the ways that companies are promoting and highlighting job openings, from visually led designs through to a stronger promotion of benefits in the company/ role.

Many candidates are now focused on financial positioning and work satisfaction equally. As well as paying more than the average salary (you will always have to compete with the likes of Google, Microsoft etc.), you also need to consider the impression that your job adverts create in terms of not only the company culture (work brand), but work benefits too, whether that’s traditional benefits, professional development strategy or stressing the fact that you have a social hub with staff meals, drinks etc. to enhance their calendars.

Aside from the obvious recruitment agencies, who we all know absorb a substantial amount from your recruitment budgets, you need to think creatively in terms of the role you are seeking” Michael says, “for example, savvy digital users will be fairly active on social media sites across the board and using to not only refine their own skills, but also to seek new opportunities for personal growth.

Social engagement could be a great way to seek and source new digital talent, using this methodology as a way to examine and pre-select from the bunch before any direct contact is even made”.

Some time ago when the digital skills gap first became a prominent talking point in the media, marketing firms raised their concerns about bridging the gap as technology moves at a faster pace than most companies can keep up – even the likes of Google and Facebook mirrored the warning and stressed that upskilling and continued professional development within companies would be the best route forward to tackle the growing issue.

Retaining the best talent

Unfortunately job hopping by digital candidates has become more prominent as the lack of candidates puts further stress on organisation retention, which is why it’s now more important than ever that retention is a focus element within marketing.

Continuing from the company culture points, this is often one of the fundamental influencers affecting staff retention. The marketing community is a small network and ultimately the inclusivity of the company culture is a core consideration for those staff members who are considering leaving and a key component to retaining them.

Training and development is a huge tool not only for existing employees but for the next generation of digital natives too as a benefit of joining the company; these new-breed digital employees pride themselves on their personal growth and skills development.

Michael says, “The beauty of the Digital Marketing Diploma that we offer, is that it’s suitable not only for digital natives to formalise and develop their digital skills ready for a great role, but equally is opportunistic for existing teams and individuals to use in order to upskill their current knowledge in a fast-paced and demanding role in order to exploit new marketing channels, ideas and opportunities to put into practice”.

The Digital Marketing Diploma is an in-depth professional qualification with global recognition in multiple areas of digital marketing, including: Search, Social Media, PPC, Email Marketing, Analytics, Mobile, Strategy & Planning and more.

Professional Academy, is the leading provider of this course across the UK and internationally, offer a free digital skills test, which analyses your digital marketing skills and compares them to those of your peers: Try yours today.