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The digital disconnect: China faces a shortfall of digital marketing professionals

Updated: 14 Apr 2016

The rapid evolution of digital marketing has created a “digital disconnect” in which the jobs market in technology, and more specifically digital marketing technology, is hungry for skilled workers in China.


According to recruiting experts Hays in China, the evolution of digital marketing is set to continue over the next decade and this will have a huge impact on the skills employers need.


“As the business landscape shifts, marketers must evolve with the times in order to fully connect with their customers and drive business growth,” says Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China.


“As marketing becomes more technology-based, harnessing and mastering ‘big data’ will be key to achieving competitive advantage. If companies are to remain market front-runners, they need to integrate their digital and social marketing channels into one customer journey.


“To do this, they require candidates with integrated offline and online channel experience,” said Simon.


This is supported by statements made in Sydney, Australia, last month by Brad Rencher, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Marketing at Adobe Systems:  “Your social media programs and campaigns, and how you think about them, should be put in the context of your overall business and marketing objectives.


“Today, marketing is all about the numbers and understanding how to segment data, utilise big data, back-end technology and databases,” he added.


According to Hays, these changes have created a “digital disconnect”, or in other words a shortage of skilled professionals for digital marketing technology jobs.


The power of data

“Today digital marketing managers need to be able to determine if a visitor to their company’s website, iPhone app or Facebook page is a return visitor, a loyalty member, and what offers they may respond to,” says Simon.


“In the current jobs market small businesses and agencies are fighting for personnel who can do this, as well as manage accounts, run great campaigns and build content and social media marketing strategies that make an impact. But there is a shortage of the right talent,” he says.


According to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey on digital marketing published in July, most marketers lack the skill sets needed to understand and glean insights from this kind of data. 82% of marketers state that career skills have changed, with 37% indicating they don’t have the skills required to analyse and understand the vast amount of data available to them.


The survey concluded that the inability to apply data insights is holding back nearly half of marketers from identifying strategies that can impact the bottom line. 


How do we resolve the digital disconnect?

“In order to be successful in the jobs market, candidates must up-skill,” says Simon. “Organisational leaders can also play a part by investing in training and resources that will enable marketers to be savvier when it comes to extracting actionable insights from data. Marketing is now a fundamental driver of IT purchasing, and that trend shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.”


Information technology research and advisory company Gartner have predicted that by 2017 CMOs will spend more on IT than their CIO counterparts. CMOs will need to be accountable and justify how their tech spending impacts revenue.


“This means that marketing professionals need to be able to better analyse customer data sets, not only to advance understanding of the customer but to calculate true ROI of marketing activities,” says Simon.


“CMOs and CIOs must adapt to this new environment and start forging true, strategic partnerships, so both marketing and IT can begin sharing ownership of both goals and outcomes.


“And management must recognise that technology and marketing are now inextricably tied, and that future success depends on the creation of a totally new kind of cross-functional organisation.”


Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.


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This is the first release in a series where we’ll be looking at how digital marketing strategies are important in driving growth and organisational change, and their potential impact on understanding, sourcing and attracting the right talent.


About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.


Hays Specialist Recruitment  (Shanghai) Co., Limited ("Hays China") operates across the public and private sector, dealing in permanent positions. Hays China’s eighteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Architecture, Construction, Education, Engineering, Executive, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Hays Resource Management, Information Technology, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Oil & Gas, Property and Sales & Marketing.


Hays China operates four local offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou. It is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company with more than 7,840 staff operating from 239 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms.


Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.