Struggling to Find Quality Marketing Talent? Here’s Why & What You Can Do About It
The most valuable asset to any business is its people. This is true whether you’re an entrepreneur building out your initial team or you’re working for an established business.
Everyone is navigating post-Covid challenges and The Great Resignation. Yet one thing is abundantly clear among all the data and research coming out post-pandemic:
Companies will continue to struggle with attracting and retaining skilled talent.
Here are just a few of the stats and facts supporting this narrative:
Boomers are retiring — leaving a gap in the jobs they held and a skills gap in the talent required to fill them.
The skills gap is shifting. Less people are learning the trades we still need (like health care professionals and construction). Then there’s job automation with new technology that’s out-pacing traditional education options.
Traditional schools are failing our youth — with The Department of Education and unqualified “educators” focused on the wrong metrics. We’ve become a society in which “passing tests” is more important than building critical thinking skills.
Women continue to bear the brunt of unpaid caretaking responsibilities — to the tune of an estimated $10.9 trillion annually — so flexibility is no longer an option; it’s a requirement.
Web 3.0 is here, which marks the decentralization of the web and “the power” — flowing back to individual creators versus select tech giants.
While the points above apply to the American workforce at large, let’s get more granular on why quality marketing talent is elusive, too.
Where are all the good marketers at?
It’s a valid question and one I’ve been observing for several years now. Whether building out the core marketing team at my last senior-level position or helping clients fill current marketing vacancies, the pandemic has only solidified the following observations:
If marketers feel appreciated, they aren’t looking.
If they are looking (and they are good), they‘re entertaining multiple offers.
They are simply too green (i.e. young and/or naive) and don’t have the necessary exposure and experience to fill some of the ridiculous marketing job expectations.
No one with 3-5 years of professional experience can be an “expert” across all key marketing channels.
Many marketers aren’t looking for a “traditional” 9-5+
There’s another compelling reason why it’s hard to find good marketing talent — they simply aren’t looking for a traditional, full-time W-2 position.
Many experienced marketers who have broad knowledge, deep experience and a strategic mindset have opted to consult so they can do what they love and benefit from the flexibility and control over their own time. The option to select culture-fit clients, workload and the type of projects is an added bonus.
What can you do to find good marketing talent?
Here’s what you should take into consideration if you need to add marketing talent to your team — even if some of this is not what you want to hear.
First, especially if you’re the business owner, you must recognize that a job is just that—a job. No one is going to care more about your business than you. Team members who are financially tied to your company’s success will also care, which is why equity compensation is a valuable tool to attract and retain experienced talent.
Next, it helps to decide if you need a strategist, an executor or a blend of both. A strategist will assess all your marketing activity and determine the appropriate programs and campaigns and what it will take to implement them. An executor will take direction from a strategist and do the work to get campaigns to market. Unicorns who do both are hard to find.
Then, you have to right-size your budget expectations. While marketing unicorns do exist — i.e. a T-shaped or V-shaped marketer according to the industry — they are either unaware of their unique-ness or too humble to boast about their own talents. One of the best resources I’ve found for market value of different roles is the Salary Guide from the well-know. Recruiting Company Robert Half. Here in St. Louis, they go by the name The Creative Group.
Last but never least, you’ve got to trade in the traditional and boring job description and instead use the job post to sell your ideal candidate on why they should come work with you. Don’t be afraid to let your brand personality shine through. This also includes getting real on job responsibilities and expectations.
The market has turned in favor of the employee, which requires businesses and hiring managers to (finally!) prioritize its people.
Thankfully, my extended network has been ahead of the curve on this. If you’re stuck or need some strategic guidance, let me know.
Here are some related articles I recommend reading:
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics - The Employment Situation February 2022
NPR article, March 4, 2022 - “The U.S. added 678,000 jobs in February. It's another sign of a hot labor market”
Pew Research Center - Amid the pandemic, a rising share of older U.S. adults are now retired
Summary of Eleanor Konik’s post-graduate article, June 2021 - The Difficulties of Teaching Critical Thinking
Article from Fisheye Marketing - T-Shaped or V-Shaped Marketing