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Advertising Agencies Face Serious Digital Marketing Skills Shortage

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Online Marketing Institute announced the release of the State of Digital Marketing Talent study, in partnership with Kelly Staffing & ClickZ.


Online Marketing Institute surveyed 747 advertising and marketing executives on the state of digital marketing skills, knowledge, and training in their companies. The study found that ad agency executives were not satisfied with the skill levels of digital talent, and there are significant gaps between the skills talent should possess, and the skills they currently have. Only 8% of executives surveyed believe their employees are strong in all areas of digital marketing and advertising.

"The digital space continues to evolve rapidly, and agencies are finding it challenging to hire and retain digital marketing talent with the skills necessary to deliver quality creative and strategy," said Aaron Kahlow, CEO and Founder of Online Marketing Institute.

Kahlow continued, "As clients continue to demand accountability and question the value agencies bring, it's critical that agency execs address the digital talent gap if they want to not only survive, but also grow. The agencies that are investing in closing the gap through training and level-setting programs are able to drive better results, prove their value, and strengthen their relationships with clients."

The 27-page study also found that:

  • The largest agency skill gaps are in mobile, analytics, and marketing automation. 74% of those agencies surveyed believe mobile is a very important/important skill to have, but only 31% believe their talent is stronger/much stronger than competition—a gap of 43 percentage points. Additionally, agencies perceive a gap of 30 percentage points each for analytics and marketing automation.
  • It is difficult for companies to vet and hire qualified individuals in social media and digital. Over 80% of companies surveyed face significant challenges in consistently locating, hiring and retaining top talent.
  • Online certificate and eLearning programs fill the gap. Close to 80% of companies identified eLearning & online certificate programs as a viable solution to filling the gap of skills and new job seeker credentials.
  • There are more open positions than available talent. 40% of companies surveyed have more projects and positions open than they can fill with qualified talent, and analytics is the most desirable skill. This is a tremendous opportunity for job seekers.

These findings suggest that advertising agencies will continue to decrease in relevancy and lose business unless the digital talent gap is addressed.

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