In this guest column, Dr Foula Kopanidis (pictured below), the program director of postgraduate marketing programs at RMIT University, says demand for marketers will remain strong but its the ones with the skills on their resumes who’ll take home the fattest pay cheques…
Increasing demand for digital marketing skills and the growing importance of the marketing function within businesses will boost employment opportunities in the coming five years, with professionals who hold relevant postgraduate qualifications best placed to take advantage of an expected rise in salaries.
A new report prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, The future of work: Occupational and education trends in marketing in Australia, predicts that marketing professionals who have completed postgraduate study in Management and Commerce will have an average income of $150,431 in 2021-22, up 14.2 per cent from $129,004 in 2016-17.
The 2016-17 figure itself was 33 per cent higher than the average income of marketing workers with no post-school qualifications.
The report also forecasts that the Australian marketing workforce will grow to 299,000 persons in 2021-22 from 269,000 persons in 2016-17. This represents an annual average growth rate of 2.2 per cent, nearly twice as fast as the 1.5 per cent expected in the overall Australian labour force.
Greater value placed on marketing function
The report identifies three major factors that will boost demand for marketing professionals: the growth of digital marketing, the integration of marketing with other business functions, and the perennial demand for human creativity.
To keep pace with this job market evolution, marketers will need to sharpen up their skills in areas such as data analytics, which is increasingly used to monitor the effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns.
Another key area of digital literacy will be the use of automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve product recommendations to customers, suggest individualised content on streaming services, and promote related properties on real estate websites.
Marketers will also need to be savvy across all business functions so that they can combine marketing expertise with general business know-how and specialist industry knowledge.
But while technical skills are increasingly important, a core set of soft skills will remain key to success. These include communication, teamwork, critical thinking and – crucially – creativity.
This creative aspect of marketing is essential to the success of a product or brand, and technology cannot easily find substitutes for the human element that underlies creative flair.
How valuable is further study for marketing professionals?
In essence, education equips workers with the knowledge and skills that transform them into more productive workers, who are financially rewarded in turn for the value they add to their organisations.
Further study in a cross-cutting discipline such as marketing is beneficial to specialists and generalists alike.
Marketing workers with several years of experience can use further study in their field to gain formal recognition for their skills and to accelerate their career progression.
Conversely, individuals who work in other areas, or hold undergraduate qualifications in fields such as architecture or nursing, can use marketing studies to gain the multidisciplinary skills required to secure a marketing or sales-related role within their chosen industry.