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How to attract and retain the best marketing talent

How to attract and retain the best marketing talent

By Dominic Warman, a Manager Executive Search with specialist marketing recruiter, Handle Recruitment.

While in the first half of the year everyone was talking about recovery, after the recent Government Spending Review there are already mutterings about a double dip and job cuts.

However, this is not likely to impact on the availability of quality talent on the market- particularly within areas such as digital marketing which not only grew exponentially during 2009, but was also arguably also one of the few sectors that weathered the recession.

Consequently, those organisations who really want to capitalise on this need to be looking at growing their digital marketing teams so that they are able to measure the impact of their campaigns.

There is a misconception among employers that post recession and post redundancies there is still a lot of available talent on the market. But this simply isn’t true – particularly in the digital arena which is still a very immature market which historically has been dominated by the agency side.

However, increasing numbers of client side organisations now want to lessen their reliance on agencies and hire in house expertise to maximise the revenue generating potential of new channels. If you are an agency beware a brain drain – if you are a client side, agencies are your hunting ground!

Additionally, the digital marketing arena is dominated by Generation Y and it is important for employers to realise that they are often motivated by different things.  Unlike the more cautious generation X they are not afraid to change jobs frequently to get what they want – whether that’s money, lifestyle, working hours, culture, benefits or location.

And it is things like working for a socially responsible company and being able to work flexibly that are important. Jonathan Austin, chief executive of Best Companies says "I'm not saying money isn't important – some of them are carrying debt from university – but our data shows they are looking for a working environment in which they can continue to learn.

They also want flexibility and a real work/life balance. They simply aren't prepared to mortgage their lives to the company." Ignoring these needs will mean ignoring the next generation of professionals with the skills and potential to help shape your business.

Consequently, employers need to be constantly reviewing not only the type of person they are targeting but also crucially what is going to motivate them and then tailoring offerings accordingly.   

Flexibility is also key.  While the talent pool is small and immature – it’s also very diverse.  There are a myriad different job titles in what is a constantly evolving market and you may miss out on the very skill sets you are looking for if you judge someone’s likely experience from a job title alone.  

It’s also important to remember that when interviewing, you are selling as well as buying.  The candidate will be interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them so spell out the attractiveness of your company in key areas such as: success factors and achievements of the company; future growth prospects; career development paths, promotion opportunities and training; social events, teambuilding and investment in people.

And finally... if you are really struggling then get some help. Brief a specialist recruiter who will have the network, the expertise – and the time.   Also by building a relationship with a specialist recruiter, they can help you build talent pipelines for the future.

If we're not already in a 'candidate's world', we're definitely moving towards one. In order to attract and retain the best people to help your business succeed, you'll have to position your company as one that has something to offer in return.

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