Big issues still to tackle in 2022: The talent contest

recruitment2In the first of a series of articles, Decision Marketing looks back at the industry’s “big issues to tackle in 2016” to see what progress – if any – has been made five years later.

Even back then, it seemed fears of a looming skills crisis had been vexing the finest minds of the industry for years, with long-term campaigner Edwina Dunn warning that the UK was facing a “lost generation” of potential data professionals.

Meanwhile, UK business leaders revealed that data and analytics were two of the most important skills UK firms crave – surpassing even multilingualism – and many were calling for data analytics to be a part of MBA programmes.

So, half a decade later, has 2021 seen the situation improve or will the issue still dominate 2022?

Well, Dunn & Co were certainly onto something, but while the battle to attract talent to the industry continues, this year alone has seen dozens of new initiatives designed to make a difference.

From global analytics giant SAS launching of a free programme to train 10,000 job seekers as data professionals and agencies Publicis, Group M, Havas, McCann and VCCP targeting school leavers to brand owners M&S, KFC, Axa and Burberry establishing data academies, the market is moving at a pace.

In fact, it has been claimed that data professionals are in such high demand that even trainee data science roles are commanding salaries which exceed the pay of junior doctors, lawyers and dentists as more and more organisations wake up to the power of data insight.

According to Mana Search, demand continues to outstrip supply with data scientists, engineers and analytics professionals, in particular, being highly sought after.

Data, digital, and technology leaders also said to be reaping the benefits of the pandemic-fuelled stampede to build specialist teams, securing a 55% increase in salaries across the board as companies work harder to attract and retain top-tier talent.

The highest paying junior data role was for AI and machine learning posts which start at an average of £45,000 a year, while AI department heads were getting an average of £120,000. In digital, product management juniors start on £42,000 and heads of department get £121,000. Meanwhile, the highest paying junior tech role was in DevOps, with £45,000 for starters and £111,000 when they get to the top of their game.

The Covid inspired scramble to recruit talent in the data industry is even likely to see salaries for data scientists hit £100,000 a year in London, according to one recruiter.

Not that every sector is booming. Over in adland, the pandemic’s devastating effect on the UK market has been laid bare in the 2020 IPA Agency Census, triggering a 10.8% drop in staff numbers in member agencies, with younger and older staff as well as women bearing the brunt of the cutbacks.

And despite the sector’s best efforts to boost diversity and inclusion, the “male, pale and stale” brigade seems to have survived intact.

A separate study revealed the ad industry has also been hit by an exodus of staff, with more than two-fifths (42%) of workers quitting the profession altogether since 2015, second only to the number of people who have left the military.

Even so, marketers who have managed to stay the course can at least console themselves with the fact that the profession is now in the top five when it comes to early retirement, with the potential to hang up your boots aged 47.

By analysing various metrics, such as how much a pension pot grows over the years for 40 different careers, and how much can be saved for retirement, pension specialists Our Life Plan claim it is able to determine which professions are most likely to be able to give ditch the daily grind way before they are old and grey.

And combined with the handsome salaries on offer in most sectors of the industry, it could be argued that there has rarely been a better time to consider a career in marketing, data and technology…

Related stories
Four in ten have ditched adland for a change of career
Havas UK ramps up entry level scheme for youngsters
Group M launches Digital Academy for non-graduates
Junior data roles paying more than doctors and dentists
Data scientists set to bag £100,000 as demand soars
Census shows industry at worst but it vows to change
Data, digital, and tech chiefs see salaries soar by 55%
Marketing ‘one of the best careers for early retirement’
Big issues to tackle in 2017: the looming skills crisis

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