Digital Marketing In-house Recruitment Research


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The Candidate's recruitment research shows that high attrition rates are holding back businesses in the North West's In-house Digital Marketing Industry.

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Digital Marketing In-house Recruitment Research

  1. 1. Are High Staff Attrition Rates Holding Back Online Businesses? Research by:
  2. 2. The Candidate is a digital marketing recruitment company servicing the North West. We match the right candidates with the right positions. It’s that simple. How do we do it? Because our hard won expertise and years of experience across both marketing and recruitment tells us the difference between the good, the great and the best. We specialise in identifying the best opportunities for candidates and the best candidates for clients. That we choose to work only with the best defines us. It’s also the best way to align the leading media, marketing and sales candidates with the leading media, marketing and sales positions.
  3. 3. Executive Summary
  4. 4. For many online businesses, recruiting the right mix of people to their in-house digital marketing team can make all the difference to their bottom line. As the opportunities for different online revenue streams develop through mobile, search and social media, businesses looking to make significant sales online need an increasing combination of different skills, from web development and PPC, to SEO and social media. Following on from previous research undertaken by The Candidate into the recruitment processes for digital agencies, we canvassed a range of 200 online businesses about their HR and recruitment processes, in order to build up a detailed picture of recruitment for in-house roles in the North West of England. The study found that most online businesses, defined by us for this report as businesses taking at least 20% of revenue via online channels, recruit a specialist digital role to their in-house team at least once a year. The majority of this recruitment is to replace outgoing members of staff who have stayed in their role for less than two years. In the following report, we investigate some of the challenges that online businesses face in recruiting and retaining top digital marketing professionals to work in their in-house teams, and ask whether high turnover rates are holding back growth in the digital industries. Brian Matthews, Managing Partner, The Candidate Huge staff attrition rate undermines performance of North West online businesses.
  5. 5. Staffing a Growth Industry
  6. 6. The digital sector is booming. In the North West, the industry is becoming a key player and is growing fast. Research by Manchester Digital highlights that digital content and ICT industries account for 45,800 jobs in the Greater Manchester area and generate around £2bn p.a. and this growth shows no sign of abating. However, we also know that online businesses can face a number of challenges when it comes to staffing an inhouse digital team: Nationally, there are now more than 270,000 businesses classed as ‘digital.’ It’s an exciting, dynamic and fastchanging sector, where new technologies and trends can very quickly become game-changers. • High turnover of staff and poor staff retention Any business that seeks to drive revenue through online sales is likely to need either a digital agency, or an in-house digital marketing team. The most successful online businesses are those that understand the role of digital marketing, value the creativity, skills and talents of digital marketing professionals across a range of disciplines, and integrate their digital marketing planning into strategy and business development. • An acute shortage of staff who are trained and capable in online marketing (SEO, PPC, affiliate, social media and analytics) • ‘Poor’ nationwide provision of training courses on digital marketing • A shortage of higher education degrees in digital and computer science courses
  7. 7. On average, candidates who are being recruited into in-house digital roles are remaining in their role for less than two years. Our study confirmed that there are generally low retention levels for members of staff in digital marketing roles in-house. Most businesses are recruiting for a specialist digital role to their in house team at least once a year – and the majority are replacing an outgoing staff member, not building a bigger team. 87% of recruitment is to service staff attrition, replacing existing members of staff who leave. So why are most digital professionals staying in these in-house roles for less than two years? • • • • Lack of professional development opportunities Frustration with ‘slow-to-adapt’ businesses Becoming ‘siloed’ in one particular sector Desire to work at the cutting edge of developments in digital marketing • Quicker progression and better salaries elsewhere 87% of recruitment is to service staff attrition, replacing existing members of staff who leave. The study also confirmed that while most employers use recruitment agencies to source potential candidates, very few are using specialist digital marketing recruiters to find the right candidates for digital roles, relying on larger more general agencies with a lack of real specialist knowledge.
  8. 8. The Digital Trend Race Most businesses feel that they are “fairly up to date” or “very up to date” with the latest digital trends.Some organisations are very proactive in staying ahead of the curve. As part of our research, we asked a range of businesses how they ensure they stay on top of digital developments and take advantage of new opportunities.
  9. 9. Chris Dalrymple is Head of eCommerce at On The Beach Describe your digital strategy in 3 words: Agile, Mobile, Personalised. Why would you say your digital strategy is ahead of the curve in your sector? At On the Beach, we’re able to move very quickly thanks to our agile approach to marketing and technology. We can react to industry changes, customer demands and market forces more quickly than many businesses are able to. We have a strong entrepreneurial culture, a lack of red tape or politics, and a philosophy of embracing and testing new ideas. Our focus on in-house technology means we can quickly develop our ecommerce platform, without relying on external agencies. What do you think the most exciting developments are in digital marketing at the moment? The shift to mobile and the need to understand the changing ways in which customers use a combination of devices is very exciting. This is especially true in the context of booking a holiday, where they may interact with a brand over a number of weeks before transacting. We’re well placed to understand how our customers’ behaviours have changed, and how we can best adapt our offering to take advantage. What does your company do to make your workplace appealing to the digital job market? I think our culture is one of the most appealing aspects of working for On the Beach. We have a strong technology focus and our agile approach means we can innovate quickly – something really important for attracting digital candidates. We have a flat structure and a lack of ceremony as well as a philosophy of building internally, and adopting early. I genuinely believe we have a framework here that can allow digital experts to thrive.
  10. 10. 71% per cent of the in-house recruiters we surveyed believe that their business is up to date with the latest digital trends – and we know from our experience that many businesses have excellent strategies in place. But how accurate is this perception of a notoriously fast-moving industry? Feedback from the candidate marketplace shows that many (67%) digital professionals do not agree that most businesses are fully up to date with evolving developments in the digital industry or have an up to date understanding of the different strands in digital marketing. They are missing a trick, and this can be a problem when it comes to recruiting and retaining the best talent. Digital professionals working in-house want to develop and maintain a high-level of industry expertise, which they can then put to use on behalf of their employers. However, sometimes they are not given the freedom or resources to innovate, or their expertise in a relatively new sector is still not fully recognised and used by their employers. The majority (73%) of candidates tell us that their perception is that digital agencies are more up to date, and that working for an agency with multiple clients in different sectors is the best way to learn new insights and skills. But for businesses which want to drive revenue through online channels using an in-house team, attracting, developing and retaining the right digital professionals should be a significant part of their strategy for growth.
  11. 11. Brand Benefits
  12. 12. Most employers (61%) believe that the salaries they offer digital professionals are in-line or above the market value, and that their employer brand is strong, making them attractive employers. The reality is that salaries for in-house digital professionals are often average compared to other roles, and while salaries are often higher than agencies, they are not considered to be dramatically better or a great enough incentive to leave consultancy style businesses. Key roles and salary ranges: SEO Executive £18,000 - £24,000 Content Executive £16,000 - £20,000 PPC Manager £25,000 - £40,000 Social Media Manager £24,000 - £28,000 Digital Marketing Manager £25,000 - £35,000 Head of eCommerce £40,000 - £60,000 However, the employer brand for many businesses is often weaker than they think. There is still a perception among the digital community that working in agency is the fastest way to progress and learn new skills, and 67% of those surveyed said that working in agency is more fun and social too.
  13. 13. How Do Agencies Ensure Their Internal Cultures Make Them Good Employers?
  14. 14. We have a full-time member of staff, Lucy Barber, dubbed the agency’s ‘director of love,’ whose role is to ensure theEword is a comfortable and engaging environment for our team of 30 digital specialists to work in. Benefits include monthly and annual bonus schemes, free breakfast twice a week, weekly prize giveaways, free cereal, fruit, coffee, tea and soft drinks every day, regular company social events, games consoles in the breakout area and the knowledge that the agency’s board and senior management are committed to employee happiness and wellbeing. Daniel Nolan, Managing Director at theEword Working within the MediaCom iLab means staff get to work at the forefront of the digital landscape. Internal training programmes are individually tailored to ensure team members are constantly pushing their skill set onwards and the Group M Search University calls on the likes of Google and Yahoo, amongst others, to deliver training and insight sessions purely for Group M employees. Outside of training the MediaCom iLab is a vibrant and fun place to work. We appreciate the need for a balance between working hard and having fun and have a culture and environment which strikes a good balance. We want to push our staff to achieve their maximum potential, but most importantly, we want to make MediaCom an enjoyable place to work. Rob Weatherhead, Board Director, Digital Operations, MediaCom iLab
  15. 15. However, some online businesses are getting it right To compete with the attractions of agencies like MediaCom and theEword, the best online businesses also work hard to ensure that they have a strong internal culture that makes them attractive employers. For example, Quintessential Finance in Macclesfield is a market leading, technology-focused, finance solutions group who have recently been awarded 3rd place in the Tech Track 100 for being the 3rd fastest growing company in the North West. They offer a range of employee benefits which include employee of the month, free fruit, a social area with pool table, long service awards, incentives for employee’s families, a discounted gym scheme, and even brought an ice cream van on site last summer to cool down their staff in the heat wave!
  16. 16. Employer Perception of the Candidate Market
  17. 17. Therefore, employers are finding it hard to locate, recruit and retain the right candidates. And on average, the last digital professional they recruited stayed in their role for less than a year – a frustrating picture for HR managers. The majority of businesses use advertising to recruit, meaning that on the whole, candidates will be drawn from those who are already job-hunting. Increasing numbers are also turning to LinkedIn as an alternative method of finding potential candidates. Few employers are currently taking advantage of proactive search and selection to widen their recruitment processes to include potential candidates who are employed elsewhere. Trade shows are also under-utilised, but offer great networking opportunities, giving employers the chance to meet and assess a wide range of potential candidates in person, as well as increasing awareness of their business brand among digital professionals. Most of the businesses we surveyed indicated that it can be challenging to find the right candidates for specialist digital roles. A resounding 91 per cent of in-house employers think that skilled digital professionals are ‘scarce’ or ‘very scarce’ in the marketplace. 91% of in-house employers think that skilled digital professionals are scarce
  18. 18. Internal Processes
  19. 19. Are HR Departments too slow to attract the best candidates? The speed of the recruitment process was highlighted by many as a potential barrier to finding the right candidates, with the majority (65%) of employers feeling that their HR departments are too slow to react when roles become available. The perception is that this leads organisations to miss out on the top talent to smaller, more agile, digital marketing agencies. However a number of other factors in the process may be causing this slow perception which must be addressed as part of the recruitment process. All of those surveyed felt that specialist in-house digital roles are missing out on the best candidates in this way. While most of those surveyed used a recruitment agency, only a very small minority used specialist digital marketing recruiters to fill these specialist roles. A majority of employers (67%) also felt that recruitment agencies often failed to respond to their briefs for digital roles accurately enough, perhaps indicating that some non-specialist agencies lack the requisite industry knowledge to be able to locate and identify potential candidates. Those who did use a specialist agency reported much higher satisfaction levels with the candidates the agency put forward. While it is good practice to brief one agency per role, it makes sense for employers to have a portfolio of recruiters who can be turned to when specialist roles come up.
  20. 20. Summary
  21. 21. The research undertaken by The Candidate into in-house digital recruitment in the North West confirms a number of challenges for online businesses when it comes to recruiting for an in house team. Factors that come into play include too few suitable candidates, a perceived lack of professional development opportunities, and slow internal processes. However, it is the high staff attrition rate which could have the biggest impact, both on the long term development of the digital industry as a whole, and on individual businesses which are losing skilled members of their workforce. But the bigger picture isn’t all negative. Increasingly, inhouse employers are viewing digital marketing as an important strand within their business strategy. As technology develops and eCommerce becomes a significant revenue stream for greater numbers of businesses, more and more employers realise how important it is to get digital right. Ever more SME’s are adapting their entire business plan based on digital marketing strategies and options.
  22. 22. At The Candidate, we are working with growing numbers of employers who are now building new in-house digital marketing teams. Some are moving away from the agency model as this becomes a bigger part of their operations, whereas others are creating new digital teams from scratch. To help employers through this process, we recently published a Digital Marketing Recruitment Guide, which outlines the different roles which combine to create an effective, integrated digital marketing team. This growing demand means that currently there is a great deal of scope for experienced candidates in roles with inhouse employers. If online businesses can work to ensure they keep up to date with industry developments, offer opportunities for digital professionals to keep personal development on track and their skillset up-to-date, and build a strong internal culture that attracts employees, they will stand a greater chance of retaining staff members for longer and building a highly skilled, motivated team that is equipped to deliver the best results. And this can only be of benefit to the digital industry as a whole.
  23. 23. Copyright © 2013 The Candidate Third floor, St. Johns Court 19b Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HN. t: 0161 833 1044 twitter: @thecandidateuk