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GLOBAL TREND REPORT MARKETING
2015 | OUTLOOK
A HIGHLY POSITIVE OUTLOOK FOR MARKETING PROFESSIONALS
• In Mainland China, marketing has evolved rapidly
in recent years and there is a talent shortage at
• In France many organisations are looking to
consolidate their senior marketing teams at
European level while recruiting digital specialists
who can execute on the strategy
• In Hong Kong there is a strong focus on digital
marketing and customer experience
• There are excellent opportunities across the
board in Ireland, especially for digital marketers,
e-commerce and marketing communications
professionals.There is a skills shortage in web
• In Singapore there is a talent shortage and while
there is demand for digital and tech-savvy
marketing professionals, some functions are being
• UAE-based companies are internationalising
rapidly, creating demand for strategic marketers
• In the UK hiring organisations are seeking talent
across a wide range of marketing and
communications specialisations, both traditional
• In many regions recruitment budgets are increasing
• Salaries are likely to increase in regions where there
is strong demand and short supply at senior levels
The Marketing discipline has been evolving rapidly over the past few years.
The emphasis on digital platforms and understanding the customer through data
analytics has resulted in a convergence between marketing and IT. While this trend
will continue, in recent months we have also seen more organisations recruiting
into strategic marketing roles and in some regions there is also a skills shortage in
traditional marketing communications.
Where there is a shortage of talent at junior levels, many organisations are willing to
take on less experienced individuals who show potential, and train them.
Overall the outlook is very positive for 2015 – it is a good time to be in marketing!
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES .....................9
While the talent pool for digital marketers has
grown in recent years, the focus is now turning
to CRM, where hiring organisations have found
it challenging to identify candidates with the right
skills and experience.
Overall the situation for marketers is improving.
Though the rate of growth in China has slowed
relative to previous years, the outlook is positive
for marketing-driven organisations.There is a
shortage of talent at senior levels and recruitment
budgets are increasing. Digital marketers,
e-commerce and analytics specialists are
currently very much in demand and we expect this
trend to continue through 2015.There are also
opportunities for marketing professionals early
in their career as the talent shortage is forcing
companies to train up less skilled professionals
who show potential.
“Talent with a combination of agency and in-house
experience is highly sought after for senior and
assistant manager level roles both in-house and
at service providers,” says Rio Goh, Manager of
Morgan McKinley China.
“It is an advantage for candidates to be able to
demonstrate some stability and commitment.
Things have changed rapidly in China and whereas
most people stay only two to three years in a
role, a candidate who can demonstrate solid
achievements at a company over a longer period
will stand out,” he adds.
It is an advantage to be able to
demonstrate some career stability.
INCREASING RECRUITMENT BUDGETS
SALARIES & BENEFITS
Sales and marketing professionals staying in their
current role will probably receive on average a
6-8%.Those moving to a new role can expect a
In France we have seen little discernible change
in overall demand for marketing professionals,
but some changes in emphasis. Operating models
are changing with the creation of new European
platforms and hubs and this calls for strategic
skills at the European level, with a consolidation
of generic marketing functions, combined with
high-quality local execution. Companies are buying
in digital marketing talent and we expect to see
this trend increase throughout 2015. “There is a
focus on internal mobility and retention of key
people, and at the same time the need to get
strategic and specialised professionals on board.
At the senior level there is a strong preference
for candidates who are fluent in English, to support
the development of European platforms,”
say Hubert Levesque, Managing Director,
Morgan McKinley France.
An MBA in international marketing is therefore
a highly valued qualification.
“At the top end of the marketing hierarchy
there is a major focus on brand content
and internationalisation as well as digital
transformation. Organisations see these as the
three key pillars of growth,” adds Levesque. At the
execution level there is increased focus on direct
marketing, CRM and data mining.
We expect potential candidates to get more
proactive in seeking new opportunities in 2015.
Despite the prevailing economic outlook,
and recruitment freezes in some companies,
organisational change will keep the market
reasonably fluid, with recruitment at senior
and junior levels for in-house talent.
There is a major focus on brand
content and internationalisation
as well as digital transformation.
CONSOLIDATION OF GENERIC MARKETING FUNCTIONS
SALARIES & BENEFITS
Marketing stars with compelling strategic skills
or digital expertise, especially on an international
level, can expect high salary growth in 2015.
Generally speaking, marketers with smart and
expert profiles can expect to see an improvement
in salaries but we anticipate no significant growth
for candidates with generic marketing skills.
With the rise of digital and mobile marketing,
all marketing professionals need to be tech-savvy.
“The gap between IT and marketing has narrowed.
Marketing professionals with a technology
mind-set will be much better equipped to navigate
their way through to a successful career path,”
comments Emma Brinsford, Manager, Sales
& Marketing recruitment at Morgan McKinley
Hong Kong.There are abundant opportunities at
all levels of seniority in digital marketing, SEO,
SEM and digital analytics.
Organisations in Hong Kong increasingly
understand the importance of providing an
excellent customer experience and it falls to
marketing to take the lead in representing the
consumer or client’s voice. “Therefore we are also
seeing many new roles being created for marketing
analytics and customer experience specialists,”
says Brinsford. Big data, analytics and CRM used
to be IT disciplines but now they are part of the
Specific marketing qualifications are not usually
a requirement, though to make a start in marketing
at a junior level, candidates generally need
a degree. Industry-specific product training is
of far greater significance. “Whilst traditional
marketing is what we all know, it is fundamentally
static and it is hard to measure results. Companies
now mainly interact with customers and measure
brand loyalty and advocacy via digital marketing,”
“Fluency in Chinese is becoming more important
as Hong Kong-based organisations look to increase
their share of the market on the mainland,”
she adds. Junior-level candidates are often
required to take a writing test in simplified or
However, rather oddly, at some levels there is a
lack of consistency between the requirements of
hiring managers and those of the HR department.
“For example, senior managers put most emphasis
on marketing experience at regional manager level,
whereas the HR function may insist on Cantonese
or Mandarin language skills,” says Brinsford.
At the senior level, Chief Marketing Officers are
playing an increasingly strategic role, taking on
leadership responsibilities that used to fall within
the remit of the CTO and CEO. In particular, CMOs
are expected to be IT and data savvy in order to
lead initiatives to interact with customers and
predict future marketing trends.
CMO and CIO’s are
now more intrinsically
linked than ever before.
GAP BETWEEN IT AND MARKETING IS CLOSING FAST
SALARIES & BENEFITS
Hong Kong as a whole is expecting an average
of 5% increase in salaries for existing employees
across the board for 2015. Financial services,
NGOs and construction will be at the higher end
of pay increases whereas those in commerce
slightly lower.This means that salary increases
will be lower than in most Asian economies.
Those moving jobs will probably receive an
increase in the order of 8-13%.
Many organisations based in Ireland are applying
a more strategic approach to marketing as they
seek to capture the opportunities presented by
the economic upswing. In particular, there is a
heightened focus on improving the customer
experience and developing e-commerce channels.
We have seen a lot of organisational change
and increasing demand for new headcount in
digital marketing, e-commerce and marketing
communications. As we progress through 2015,
we expect to see more opportunities for IT-savvy
marketing professionals, for example in CRM and
marketing database management.
“We have an excellent marketing talent pool
here in Ireland. Demand is increasing steadily at
junior and assistant manager or project manager
levels both in-house and with agencies and
service providers,” comments Cecilia Desmond,
Recruitment Consultant at Morgan McKinley
Ireland. “There is also very healthy demand for
in-house senior and strategic marketers.”
A standard requirement from hiring organisations
is a qualification in marketing and, increasingly,
digital marketing. Marketing and marketing
communications professionals with experience
of design packages, Google certifications and
e-commerce platforms should have no problem
finding a suitable role. A postgraduate diploma in
digital marketing is a good idea for career starters
and there are various Master’s degrees in various
aspects of marketing that not only provide a good
theoretical grounding but also practical experience.
Individuals who are interested in the organisational
development and strategic aspects of marketing
would do well to consider taking a course
in a project management methodology such
as Prince 2.
“If you are moving between jobs and want to
enhance your skills in digital marketing, you need
to be both creative and realistic in how you go
about it. For example, many SMEs could benefit
from a social media strategy but simply don’t have
the budget that would be required to make an
impact.This can lead to frustration. So my advice
is to apply for roles that will help aspiring
marketers to achieve their objectives and build
on their experience,” comments Desmond.
“Overall, things are definitely on an upward curve!”
Things are improving
rapidly in marketing and
remuneration will catch up.
A GREAT TIME FOR MARKETERS TO BUILD EXPERIENCE
SALARIES & BENEFITS
Salary increases depend on overall company and
industry performance; therefore people remaining
in their own jobs may not receive an increase
in 2015 or may see an increase up to 5%. When
changing jobs and bringing a specialised skill set
together with a relevant depth of experience,
candidates can expect to receive an increase of
between 5-10% on their salary.
There is increasing demand for marketing
professionals with skills and experience in digital
marketing and marketing analytics and, at the
moment, the local talent pool in Singapore is
too weak to satisfy all requirements. While
organisations may attempt to attract candidates
from abroad, particularly from other Asian
countries, the best (though far from ideal)
solution is often to train less experienced people.
Consequently there are excellent opportunities for
individuals to step up to fairly senior in-house and
agency positions fairly early in their career.
Nevertheless the economic outlook is rather
uncertain so many marketing professionals will
be content to stay put and move forward in their
current organisation. Although we expect to
see more recruitment into senior and strategic
marketing positions, and continued growth
of digital marketing and e-commerce, the
globalisation and consolidation of some marketing
functions is depressing the overall level of demand.
The local talent pool
is weak in some areas.
OPPORTUNITIES TO MOVE UP IN DIGITAL MARKETING
SALARIES & BENEFITS
Singapore is expecting an average 5-8% increase
in salaries for those who stay within the current
organisation; 10-15% for job seekers moving to a
It is important to have a grasp of
the region’s cultural differences.
Recruitment budgets are increasing as UAE-
based companies seek to capitalise on the current
economic upturn and reorganise. We have seen
strong demand for marketing communications,
digital marketing and strategic marketing
specialists. E-commerce is also going to be a focus
later in 2015. However, while there is generally
an adequate talent supply to meet most of these
needs, there is an absence of social and digital
marketing experts who have had exposure to
global best practices.
“Local candidates are preferred because it is
important to have a grasp of the region’s cultural
differences,” says Jack Khabbaz, Manager Supply
Chain & Procurement, Sales & Marketing Executive
Search, Morgan McKinley MENA region.This is
particularly important for customer intelligence
roles and social media engagement, which are
important IT-based skills.
Demand is focused at assistant manager and
project manager levels both in-house and at
agencies and service providers.There is also
strong demand for senior in-house managers.
Hiring organisations tend to prefer candidates
who have a Master’s degree or MBA and who
have attended international schools. “Successful
candidates tend to have a strong educational
background, typically western educated and with
a postgraduate qualification gained either locally
or abroad,” says Khabbaz.
“We are very optimistic about the prospects for
marketers in 2015, particularly at senior levels in
the FMCG, pharmaceuticals, construction, banking,
hospitality and oil and gas sectors. Multinationals
based in the region are broadening their scope
from Dubai to Sub-Saharan Africa,Turkey and
the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Consequently there is increasing demand for
“To succeed at this level you need ideally exposure
to change management or environments where
companies have undergone transformations or
mergers and acquisitions that have extended the
scope of their operations,” concludes Khabbaz.
EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITIES AT SENIOR LEVEL
SALARIES & BENEFITS
Marketing professionals staying in their current
role are likely to receive salary increases in the
order of 5-7% while those changing jobs 15-20%.
While new technologies and digital are driving
most demand for marketing professionals in the
UK as elsewhere, we have been surprised by the
volume of hiring into more traditional roles and the
ongoing demand for print production specialists,
especially within financial services. Companies
are realising the true value of content marketing
and hence investing in traditional creatives with
technical product knowledge. For example,
investment writers are much sought after.
Marketing – whether traditional or digital – is very
industry-specific as it is essential to understand
what motivates the customer and to gain a
deep understanding of products and/or brands.
“Therefore my advice to marketing professionals
is to build their product knowledge as well as their
expertise in social media and new technologies,”
says Jo Stone, Associate Director, Marketing &
Distribution at Morgan McKinley.
While social media and technologies can be learnt,
there is no substitute for real-life experience
and exposure to actual marketing projects, so
internships can be the best source of training for
recent graduates. In areas of low supply of talent
such as RFP/bid writers, hiring firms are having
to lower their expectations of the level of
experience ideally required, so a relevant
placement year or internship can be a great
boost to a graduate job application.
At the senior level, marketing roles are becoming
increasingly strategic. Moreover, as companies
seek to broaden their distribution networks and
develop into new markets, roles often have a
European or global remit. It is also now the norm
for senior hires to require good knowledge of
digital marketing and data analytics. Whilst not
critical, there is certainly a shortage of available
senior talent ticking all of these boxes, so Morgan
McKinley is advising hiring organisations to invest
in hiring at a more junior level and moving people
forward within the organisation.
Overall our outlook for the UK market is
optimistic and it is a good time for marketing,
communications and business development
professionals to look for new opportunities.
My advice to marketing professionals
is to build their product knowledge.
TRADITIONAL MARKETING SKILLS STILL IN DEMAND
SALARIES & BENEFITS
Salary increases in 2015 will vary widely, generally
from 5% up to 12% in buy-back situations.
The highest increases will tend to be at junior level,
although marketing professionals with skill sets
that are in very high demand (e.g. RFP/bid writers)
may be offered exceptional pay hikes of up to 25%.
For marketing professionals moving to a new role,
the average increase is likely to be 10%, though if
the hiring organisation has a strong brand or
an ability to offer more flexible working conditions,
it may offer far less.
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GLOBAL TREND REPORT MARKETING