Retail and media 'desperate' for digital ad and sales staff

Retail and media 'desperate' for digital ad and sales staff
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Businesses are “starved” of senior managers capable of transforming their advertising and sales skills into the digital world, one specialist recruitment firm has revealed.

There was a shortage of 600 managers with digital skills in the September quarter, according to the latest Clarius Skills Indicator.

Paul Barbaro, executive general manager of Alliance Recruitment, said the shortage is most dire in the retail and media “as this sector desperately tries to convert conversation into cash”.

“While the Australian economy is in good shape compared to others, our market has bottomed out and as such we’ve seen massive drops in demand for white collar workers across most sectors,” he said.

“In sales and marketing we’ve seen practitioners jump ship to pursue other avenues of employment fueling a dearth of suitable leaders. And while skilled advertising and sales managers are in shortage, demand has actually contracted over the past two quarters.”

Will McPhee, consultant at SMAART Recruitment, agreed there was a shortage of skilled digital ad and sales professionals.

“Our clients they want somebody who has had 2-3 years digital sales experience and they are very hard to come by because it is such a new industry,” McPhee told B&T.

Those with a good grasp of SEO and Google Analytics are commanding higher wages than the average sales person.

“It depends on the role but companies are more than happy to pay a premium for somebody who is experienced in digital sales and who knows the advertising side.”

There is now a “balance” in supply and demand for general sales, marketing and public relations professionals following a decline in demand, according to the Clarius Skills Indicator.

There has been a “glimmer of light” for those based in Sydney and Melbourne with SMBs showing an increased appetite.

“Skilled sales and advertising ‘rainmakers’ shed by larger companies during the first half of 2013 have been seized up by smaller businesses seeking an edge on their competitors,” Mr Barbaro said.

Wages have remained stable with training and up-skilling programs also scaled back. Instead executives are focused on their workforce’s productivity.

As a result, there is more emphasis being placed on recruitment practices with the hiring cycle doubling from between two and four weeks up to eight.

“Employers simply don’t want to make costly hiring mistakes and they perceive there are more quality candidates available in the market,” Mr Barbaro said. 

A reluctance to move companies has also created a tight candidate flow. Employees are “choosy”, with job security a major concern when considering a potential new employer.

“Those willing to move are investigating the business health of potential new employers and seeking assurances from management who are being more transparent about their financial viability and plans.”

A recent Hays ‘Quarterly Hotspots’ report said the jobs market is being ‘fuelled’ by employees exploring their options. The Hays study also found companies are putting more emphasis on the hiring processes to ensure they get the greatest value possible from any new recruit.

To read more on the Hays report click here. 

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