Personal and social skills have been revealed as the most crucial for marketers wanting to launch a career in the data-driven marketing industry, yet they remain as elusive as Bigfoot for most.
That is one of the key findings of a new report carried out by the DMA, designed to help businesses and aspiring marketers better understand what skills are most in demand in the industry.
The “Data & Marketing: Attracting the Next Generation” report asked managers of organisations, large and small, what skills they look for when recruiting for entry-level marketers.
It reveals over eight in ten (83%) of managers named at least one personal/social skill (team work/creativity) as essential and three-quarters (76%) named at least one core skill (good written and spoken communication) as essential for entry-level marketers.
Behind these two areas, 69% stated that actual marketing skills (email marketing/social media marketing/event planning etc) were crucial when hiring.
DMA Talent general manager Kate Burnett said: “Employers are clearly looking for well-rounded marketing candidates, with a good grounding in soft skills, and basic skills such as good communication.
“Possessing technical marketing skills in addition will help put candidates ahead of the curve if the personal and core skills are present. More young people need to be made aware of what the industry can offer them and which skills will help them carve a successful career.”
Unsurprisingly, the DMA predicts technical skills will continue to grow in importance in the future as the remit of the marketing function continues to expand, thanks to the GDPR and technological advancements, with data, compliance and software now intertwined with many marketers’ job roles.
Just over half of the sample (52%) stated they struggle to find at least one of the social/personal skills deemed important, while over a third (35%) cited data skills as hard to find.
However, overall the report suggests that many employers find personal skills harder to recruit for than more technical skills.
Burnett added: “Many aspiring marketers are not equipped with the right skillsets when applying for roles in the data-driven marketing industry and so businesses, education providers and government must start working together to change this. We need to align employer expectations more closely with the skills that young and inexperienced candidates are developing in the education system.”
She added that transparency and clarity in job specifications is crucial.
Burnett summarised: “If employers are to find the right candidates they need to be clear about what they are looking for – a generalist or a specialist? They also need to be realistic about the skillsets entry level employees will already possess. If they don’t necessarily have the ideal skillset, employers must be willing to invest in relevant training and development.”
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