Kelly Liddle / 22 March

The City’s digital marketing catch up

The future, indeed the present, is digital. Although the City has been a bit slow off the mark, it’s rushing to catch up now.

This has implications for the City jobs market. Read on to find out what’s happening.

Rushing to catch up

Demand for digital marketing talent continues to expand and accelerate across the City. In 2018 and over the first quarter of 2019, we’ve seen more open digital investment marketing roles than ever before.

Firms are waking up to the critical importance of digital marketing expertise. They are rushing to develop capability in the technologies and techniques that will help them grow in a challenging and competitive market.

What kinds of roles are out there?

You will often see firms using generic job titles such as ‘digital marketing manager’. But each role varies widely, with both the scope and the skills required differing by firm. Larger firms will have more specialist roles, while smaller ones might need more of a ‘Jill-of-All Trades’. As a general rule, highly technical IT or programming skill sets aren’t the norm. Instead, an understanding of the technology and how to apply it, combined with marketing skills, offers a winning combination.

The age of catch-all mass emailing is rapidly coming to an end. Hiring firms are very much focusing on marketing automation. They are keen to borrow from other industries that use CRMs and activity tracking to automate and target their marketing efforts. Alongside the more generalist roles, candidates with these skillsets are enjoying a boom in demand and commanding a premium as a result.

Key recommendations for hiring managers

The large number of open roles means brisk competition for the best candidates. This puts those with the right skills in the driving seat. Managers need to move quickly and offer compelling packages to attract the best talent.

In a tight market for this specialty, many hiring managers this year are becoming more open to hiring digital expertise from outside the industry. In many digital areas, such as email or web automation, candidates do not require investment knowledge or experience to be effective. This is certainly the direction we are urging many hiring firms to take.

A word of caution, however. Team fit, as always, remains critical. Highly creative, tech-focused candidates don’t always slot easily into City office culture. Looking for candidates with an interest in finance and a willingness to gain industry knowledge or qualifications can help. This is where a knowledgeable and thorough specialist recruitment agent can add value and help match the right candidate with the right role.

How can candidates be more ‘hireable’?

We regularly recruit for one of the largest UK-based fund management marketing teams, which has promoted its head of digital to head of marketing. She then went on to integrate digital and broader marketing into a single team. We’re seeing this as an emerging trend, suggesting that savvy candidates should actively seek opportunities to gain experience or training in digital marketing skills to strengthen their hireability.

You also need to have an interest in the industry, not just in digital. Hiring firms in the City have an innate preference for candidates in all roles who have industry experience and knowledge. At the very least, you will need to demonstrate a keen interest in the industry and a desire to learn more about it. Holding, or being open to taking, industry-specific qualifications such as the Investment Management Certificate will also stand you in good stead. It’s not really something you can neglect, as we’ve seen candidates struggle in investment marketing roles if they don’t engage with the content and context.

Firms are also looking for digital marketers who can communicate and influence at all levels of the firm to drive the digital marketing agenda. We’ve heard of instances where digital teams or marketing managers lacked these skills, failing to engage with the wider business. In today’s digital jobs market, people skills are becoming just as important as technical ones. Hiring managers will be looking for you to demonstrate and evidence these abilities in interviews.

What trends are you seeing?

With the industry rushing to catch up, the digital recruitment market is changing fast. Are you hiring in the digital sphere or looking for a role? If so, what trends are you seeing?

Email info@masonblake.com us your thoughts or for more information contact: Kelly.Liddle@masonblake.com

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