Personal and social skills are vital yet scarce among entry-level marketers starting a career in data and marketing. This is one of the findings of new research from the DMA, the Data and Marketing Association.
Over eight in ten (83%) managers surveyed by the DMA said that at least one personal or social skill, such as teamwork or creativity, is essential. Similarly, more than three quarters (76%) said that at least one core skill, such as good written or spoken communication, is vital to have in an entry-level marketing employee. These findings were presented in the report Data & Marketing: Attracting the Next Generation.
These skills were deemed by managers as more important than marketing capabilities such as email marketing, social media marketing and event planning as the latter skills were only seen as essential by 69% of managers.
Data skills including analysing customer data, insight, data and database management, and data analysis and reporting were said to be essential by 57% of managers. With this in mind, more than half (52%) said that personal and social skills were hard to find amongst entry-level candidates while just 35% said the same of data skills.
The report authors noted that it is likely that technical skills will continue to grow in importance in the future as the remit of the marketing function continues to expand with data, compliance and software now fundamental parts of a marketer’s job.
There is significant vacancy rate in the industry with 51% of employers saying they have entry-level opportunities for school-leavers and graduates in the area of data analysis and database management, while 22% said they have openings in the area of data-driven technical jobs such as programming or data science.
“Employers are clearly looking for well-rounded marketing candidates, with a good grounding in soft skills, basic skills such as good communication. Possessing technical marketing skills in addition will help put candidates ahead of the curve if the personal and core skills are present,” said Kate Burnett, general manager of DMA Talent. She added: “More young people need to be made aware of what the industry can offer them and which skills will help them carve a successful career.”
With regard to the changes that should be made, Burnett said: “As the report highlights, many aspiring marketers are not equipped with the right skillsets when applying for roles in the data and marketing industry and so businesses, education providers and government must start working together to change this.”
The research was carried out by canvassing 141 employers, recruited through Dynata, from a range of business sizes, industries and regions across the UK. The DMA, formerly the Direct Marketing Association aims to advance and protect responsible data-driven marketing.