‘Extreme’ skills shortage plagues local ad and marketing sector

The advertising and marketing skills shortage in Australia has hit “extreme levels”, according to the Clarius Skills Index, which shows a shortfall of 4900 executives to fill senior roles.

The Index, which measures supply and demand of skilled labour, shows demand for senior talent in the ad, marketing and sales sector is among the highest of any field, and is getting worse.

In the June quarter there was a shortfall of 4000 ‘advertising and sales managers’ and 900 ‘advertising and marketing professionals’, 800 more in total than during the March quarter. This resulted in the shortage of advertising and sales managers being upgraded from ‘very high’ to ‘extreme’, and from ‘balanced’ to ‘high’ for advertising and marketing professionals.

Executive general manager of Clarius subsidiary Alliance Recruitment, Paul Barbaro, says poor consumer sentiment, coupled with the high Australian dollar was to blame.

“As a result of the deflated retail climate, organisations are desperate to get a marketing edge and create sales. Anyone that can generate income and create wealth across all sectors is in high demand,” he says.

“However, high calibre candidates simply don’t want to move. Their view is ‘better the devil you know’. They also understand that creating sales is a pretty challenging thing to do in this market.”

Barbaro adds the practice of promoting from within, where second tier less experienced professionals get promoted when the senior lead leaves, was not seen as a viable option for many businesses in the current climate.

“The reality is in this market companies need first tier seasoned and passionate people with experience in flat markets to drive sales strategies, and we’re seeing that lack of promotion adding to the current skills shortage.”

The report notes many companies are sacrificing growth for stability and survival, with many riding at the lowest levels of staff numbers. This may have ramifications for these companies when consumers become more confident and start spending again, Barbaro says.

“It’s placed unprecedented stress and job expectations on existing employees. And when conditions improve there will potentially be an exodus as people look for new roles because they don’t believe their employers have treated them well during the worst of this period,” he explains.