How to Close the Digital Talent Gap in the Age of Digital Transformation?

Age Gap

The increasing penetration of the Internet, mobile devices, social media, and analytics tools has created plenty of job opportunities for digital marketers. But this growing demand has a negative side too: there’s a massive lack of professionals with strong digital skills.


The reason? Digital transformation is taking over the world way too fast. According to a Capgemini research, 77 percent of companies consider the lack of digital skills to be the key hurdle on their way to digital transformation. And we aren’t just talking about marketers and IT specialists. The development of digital technologies is so rapid, that the lack of digital talent is felt throughout the whole organization. People in all departments need to process massive amounts of digital data, leverage the newest technologies, and create a flawless digital experience for customers.


Which Digital Marketing Skills Are the Hardest to Find?

People with strong skills in content creation, SMM, SEM and online community management are very high in demand.


Based on a hiring survey by McKinley Marketing Partners,


  • the demand for marketing talent far exceeds the supply in key areas
  • 44 percent of companies plan to hire more marketers in 2017 than they did the previous year (up from 28 percent)
  • over a half of marketing hires this year will be digital


So far in 2017, the top searched marketing expertise has been digital marketing (56 percent), followed by creative services (35 percent), marketing operations (27 percent), and communications (25 percent).


digital marketing gaps


Although digital marketing remains the most hired skill in marketing, very few marketers are looking for new jobs.


digital marketing gaps


The talent gap in digital marketing is further highlighted in an infographic by Online Marketing Institute. They surveyed 747 advertising and Fortune 500 marketing executives for the study in order to identify the largest talent gap in digital marketing.


info gaps



The survey results showed that brands experience the largest lack of digital marketing skills in analytics (37 percent) and mobile marketing (29 percent). These results are hardly surprising — data collection and analysis are the fastest growing areas not just in digital marketing, but in business overall, and mobile devices have become the primary source of information for most people.


Has Digital Transformation Created Talent Gaps in Other Business Areas?

Marketing isn’t the only field where rapid technological progress has caused talent shortages. For example, according to the Capgemini research mentioned earlier, over 80 percent of the surveyed companies said that they lacked talent in app development, cloud services, mobile device management and security.


In fact, the current demand for tech skills is so high that Monster rated the hiring difficulty for software developers as 74 out of 100.


Hiring Scale


The situation is even worse for mobile developers, with the hiring difficulty being 80 out of 100.


hiring scale 2


It looks like hiring developers may be even harder than hiring marketers, and the demand will only continue to grow — hiring managers say that programming and application development will be the top skills they’ll be seeking in the upcoming year.


Hot Skills



Web development is yet another area that has been heavily affected by a lack of qualified staff. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for web developers will grow significantly faster than the demand for other tech professionals. It’s estimated that by 2024, the number of web development jobs will grow 27 percent from the 2014 levels, translating into more than 148 thousand additional jobs. For comparison, the average projected growth rate for other IT jobs in that same time frame is 12 percent, according to the BLS.


The Solution?

One way to close the talent gap in marketing and IT is to invest in education, create attractive learning programs, and organize intense on-the-job training. The biggest drawback of this solution is how slowly it responds to the ever-growing demand. Companies need fast results, otherwise they risk going out of business.


Fortunately, these days the hunt for talent is no longer limited to a specific location. Small companies and huge enterprises alike turn to remote developers and marketers more and more often. In fact, online marketing managers and software developers are among the most common jobs performed by remote employees.


This shift toward remote work isn’t just a temporary trend. Recent stats show just how widespread it has become, and forecast continued growth:


  • In 2012, about one in five workers worldwide were regularly telecommuting, according to Reuters
  • Business executives, entrepreneurs and academics at the 2014 Global Leadership Summit said that by 2020, from half to three quarters of their full-time employees will be working remotely


While implementing remote work may seem like a change that is primarily good for employees, countless studies have revealed its significant benefits for organizations. Remote work environments don’t just translate into lower real-estate, infrastructure and labor costs, they also enable greater adaptability and scalability — which are absolutely vital in the age of digital transformation.

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