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Recruitment

SEOs and digital PRs know their worth and are asking for a 10%-20% uplift in salary

With marketing spend roaring back to pre-pandemic levels, there’s a lot of hiring happening right now. We’re seeing headcounts go beyond levels of pre-pandemic hiring, as there’s such demand for new talent. Post-COVID, most brands are shifting budget to their online channels. Demand is increasing, but there’s not enough resources to go around. Specialist SEO provider, Blue Array, discusses the resourcing challenges in digital marketing and search…

In quarter one of 2021, PwC reported that digital advertising spend had surged 49% as marketers’ confidence returned, with a £10.5 billion spent. And, further to this, it was announced in September that UK job vacancies had hit a record breaking 1 million, as payrolls bounced back to pre-COVID levels. In August alone, The Office of National Statistics stated that the number of payroll employees increased by 241,000 to 29.1 million.

Since COVID-19, the recruitment landscape has shifted to a candidate-led market. Digital marketing and search professionals are demanding better working standards. They’ve weathered the storm of COVID and have tackled many curveballs in the last 18 months, and they now know their worth.

Stacey Tylisczuk, PPC, SEO and Digital Marketing Recruiter, said: “Since the summer of 2020, the demand for SEO and digital PR hasn’t stopped. Before COVID, we found that there was greater demand within paid media (PPC and paid social) than SEO, but after the ‘paid taps’ were turned off at the start of the pandemic to save marketing budgets, there’s been an interesting switch with SEO roles dominating the digital market. In part, I believe this is because as an industry we’re seeing the value of consistent and continual investment into owned media.

Since mid-2020, the amount of SEO and digital PR roles have more than doubled. 2021 continues to be a candidate-led market and I am almost certain we’ll see this continue throughout 2022. Historically, SEO roles were lower paid than PPC, but SEO salaries have definitely risen since the switch. SEOs and digital PRs know their worth and are typically asking for a 10%-20% uplift from what we were seeing across the industry in 2019. With remote working, there’s a lot of London businesses mopping up talent in the north and south west too, which is also driving salaries up. In terms of poaching and headhunting, talented individuals are receiving in the region of 15-20 messages per week from recruiters. Knowing that they’re in demand and can get a bump in salary is definitely making people think twice about their current roles and salaries.”

Simon Schnieders, Founder at Blue Array, said: “Every agency owner is going through the COVID resourcing hangover right now. There’s lots of people who were furloughed, then brought back. They’ve endured COVID and it’s then led to itchy feet to get a better package, work-life balance, or role. Poaching has always been a thing, but it’s much more prevalent at the moment. Candidates are looking for companies with strong values, who look after their staff, and can offer development and progression.”

So, what can you do to tackle the resourcing crisis head on? Whether it’s investing in apprenticeships or adapting working standards to retain current staff and attract new talent, you need to take a long hard look at your resourcing to be in a good recruitment position in 2022. Swanky office? Candidates don’t care. What they really want to know is what the company culture is like. Agencies need to show how they can improve their employees’ lives – from private healthcare and menstrual days to flexible working and enhanced maternity pay. It’s clear that employers will need to work just as hard on hiring, as they do with new business and sales.

Get your 2022 agency resourcing on track with Blue Array’s 10 top things to adopt for next year:

  • Adopt a fully optional flexible working environment. Employees need to have the option to work in both an office and at home.
  • Review and benchmark industry salaries to keep a competitive edge.
  • Avoid employee burnout by employing in advance and monitoring their workload on a regular basis.
  • Kickstart your employer brand to compete against your competitors.
  • Create a compelling brand narrative that will inspire the most talented jobseekers to accept that first interview and fall in love with your brand.
  • Perfect your remote recruitment process.
  • Offer the most coveted perk – flexibility.
  • Build a pool of reliable and engaged freelancers.
  • Ensure you provide ongoing training and opportunities for talent to grow.
  • Adopt an ABR mindset (always be recruiting).

Technical abilities overriding core skills in marketing recruitment…

Core marketing capabilities such as copywriting, project management and analytical skills are often overlooked by industry employers, new research from Hays suggests.

83 per cent of the 300 respondents surveyed agree core skills hold more importance in the sector compared to technical skills, despite the ‘Elements of a marketer’ report concluding that too much deliberation is placed on the technical abilities of each recruitment.

Clare Kemsley, managing director at Hays said: “Core skills are vital to all marketers and without them, technical abilities cannot be used to their full potential. Marketing leaders need to consider the ideal mix of skills, within their teams and within themselves, in order to be able to capitalise on the ever-evolving digital world. 

“When looking for new roles, candidates should focus on highlighting their core skills and ‘fit’ with the organisation in order to increase their value, and earning potential, with future employers.”

Individuals in middle management positions were found to have the most significant skills gaps, as 21 per cent admit to struggling with strategic thinking and 14 per cent on analytical skills. 

Some employers did, however, indicate they would be willing to pay higher salaries for candidates who hold a strong balance of technical abilities and core skills.

Request a copy of the report here