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The Digital Workforce is Growing Quickly

21st Jan 2012

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Xpand's previous Managing Director, South East Asia, Xpand Group - Luke Partridge - talks to Digital Market Asia about the growing manpower trends in the digital media segment.

What is the trend among employers seeking workforce to drive their digital initiatives?

In a word… “evolving”! The digital workforce is growing quickly, maturing and also moving in a number of different directions and as such employers need to adapt in step with this evolution. From talent management strategies (both acquisition or retention-led…you must have both!) in a tight market with lots of competition we are seeing employers really needing to differentiate themselves. Digital media and marketing spend is on the rise undeniably and will obviously continue but cost and ROI is still at the forefront of decision makers minds and digital strategy in some instances has come back in house from the agency side such as Lenovo who recently built their Digital Hub in house as well as Dell and 3M who have senior digital executives driving key parts of their strategy.

How has the requirement for marketing executives changed with the growing push by companies to go online, and create digital presence? Do traditional qualifications still remain relevant? Do you see that changing in the coming years?

There has certainly been a shift for marketers to become more digitally-savvy and with online increasingly a larger slice of the marketing pie. As we have seen roles exclusively focused around Social Media, Social Community Management, SEO/SEM/PPC etc. For many roles however there is still the need to have a strong marketing background and an integrated approach will still need qualifications based on solid and tested marketing principle. I do see certain requirements continue to change rapidly so as such vocational qualifications will need to mirror this rapid change where appropriate.

Have the demands from HR departments regarding marketing manpower recruitment changed over the last few years? What do they look for in terms of general qualities now?

My personal view is that HR department demands have not dramatically shifted over the years. Employers still want the best talent in the marketplace – those who match their cultural fit as well as the technical requirements; those who have a strong collegiate approach; candidates who have a strong track record and remain ambitious and forward thinking; marketers that have a portfolio of capable and successful campaigns under their belt etc: An attribute that has risen in the rankings of “Must Haves” is probably ‘flexibility’. Given the last few years have given us some fairly unprecedented economic conditions to navigate then companies have raised their expectation of their manpower around adaptability – be that around role description, location, change of strategy etc. Those employees who are unable to adapt tend to fall by the wayside or at best see their careers hit a plateau. To be honest I think the biggest fundamental change are the demands from the candidates rather than employers and I have maintained for a while that unless you address your overall talent management strategy in a competitive market you will miss out on the best potential candidates and this in turn will have a majorly detrimental impact on your business.

Is there any special qualification needed to become a digital media specialist?

This will vary depending on the specific nature of the role within digital media as some roles will be more technical and as such the qualifications could be more tertiary and tangible in the form of skills learned. Other roles will benefit from more commercial exposure that could factor in depth of accountability on specific digital work, client breadth, geographical experience, work experience within a more mature, advanced or innovative market. As a base level of experience, clients would look first and foremost for a passionate and engaged approach to digital media – are you an early adopter of technology? Do you enjoy online as a medium outside the workplace? What’s your social media profile like? – do you have your own blog? Are you an active participant in like minded groups, networking events and communities?

How do you consult candidates who wish to enter into this segment?

We always encourage potential entrants into digital media to talk to current employees in the industry – to get a true ‘warts and all’ understanding of the highs and lows of the industry. It is fast-paced, often long hours, can be stressful, there are higher paid jobs in the market and clients are always demanding. That said, it is also a great industry to develop a career in and being at the leading edge of the media industry you get to work with really innovative and pioneering concepts and people that are having a real bearing on how we live our lives right now and in the future.

This article was first published on DigitalMarket.Asia. Read it here.