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Description: When the Ad:tech advertising technology conference hits New York next week, marketers, advertising agencies and recruiters may spend less time listening to the panelists and more time working the floor to find new employees.


Date: Oct 30, 2011

A talent gap is growing between the skills that many new advertising jobs require and the number of people who have those skills. The dilemma, one familiar to many industries across the country, is particularly acute for jobs that require hard-core quantitative, mathematical and technical skills.

The talent pool, advertising technology company executives say, is not a deep one. And those who have the skills are in high demand, often fetching annual salaries that can reach $100,000.    READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:

  1. Why is there a talent gap growing between the skills that many new advertising jobs require and the number of people who have those skills?

2.  How would one best attempt to acquire the skills needed in this industry?

9 Responses to “Advertising Companies Fret Over a Digital Talent Gap”

  1. Erin

    Companies are demanding more and more from their employees these days, and I believe that is part of the reason for the increasing talent gap. Companies are increasingly looking for the most brilliant new graduates or competitor’s employees because of their high growth targets. As companies provide a wider variety of products and services, they need to be able to target to their customers even more effectively than before, because of the increasing competition. Companies want to be able to respond quickly to what the market is saying, while keeping their profit goals and company internal relations. This requires talented individuals who are able to track consumer trends and predict future trends, as well as create programs and ways of sifting through all the data that companies keep on past customers and sales, as well as market trends. The talent gap is increasing at a high rate, not because students are learning less at school, but because companies are asking for a whole lot more than they used to. This growing information age requires highly skilled and efficient employees, and since each firm, especially the fastest growing, want the best of the best, they are required to pay exorbitant salaries. The only question we can ask is: are we really that much better off with all the excess information?

  2. Ivette

    One of the reasons that has caused this talent gap is the fact that advertising is not viewed as a very attractive career choice by many students and it has been much underestimated as a profitable career. Companies and universities should focus more on promoting these kinds of careers to prospective students so that the talent pool can grow. Another reason is the fact that companies many times expect too much out of employees and fail to see the reality of the market and the people. Not everyone will have every single necessary skill and companies have to be more aware of the importance of training for current and new employees in order to take them where they want them to be. At the same time companies have to invest money and resources to make this happen. Also, with very demanding job positions, companies need to make themselves look more attractive by offering more to candidates and by realizing that offering more doesn’t always mean that they will have to spend massive amounts of money. By offering career development and opportunities to increase personal growth, employers might be able to attract a greater deal of people.

  3. Cam

    The talent gap is growing in advertising field as companies have difficulty finding employees that are able to not only come up with concepts or ideas; but further need employees that who can successfully implement these ideas. The skills that are now required are adept quantitative, mathematical and technicals skills that are acquired from differing areas. Some core competencies are derived from actually having a hands on approach to developments in technology such as social networking, HTML, webpage making and coding languages. This gap continues to grow because universities and colleges are not taking a comprehensive look at what advertising and marketing employers are looking for. People who are looking for ways to obtain these skills could focus on computer science as well as the traditional marketing degrees. Also they could take courses in web page production and social networking. As technology advances so to does the demand for “complete employees” who are able to conceptualize concepts and execute them, and employers are willing to pay to keep these few “complete employees” satisfied.

  4. Helen

    First of all and probably most importantly, the talent pool companies are able to draw from is unfortunately not a deep one. Also a variety of different areas of industry (publishers, ad tech companies, marketers, etc.) are competing for the same type of ideal employee. Secondly, the type of knowledge required for new hires has changed. Employers now want employees who are competent with code writing, Web site development, statistical analysis, and the creation of digiral advertisments. Advertising companies are collecting more data for customers in the form of statistics etc. and are required to be able to find and analyze trends to do a more complete job.
    Formerly the industry required mostly qualitative skills and stocked their offices with employees who were qualified in this area. Now; however, employers are looking for a combination of an understanding of the industry, pure quantative skills and applied marketing skills in their new hires. It can sometimes take two to three months to acquire such an employee, and increasingly the employer is required to keep a mental tally of all possible new hires in the industry. Some companies have created training programs such as “field trips to facebook” to enhance thre knowledge of their current emplyees.

  5. Meagan

    First of all why is this talent needed all the sudden? It is needed because of all the technology we have developed, technology does everything these days from using a computer to search the web, or to watch TV. Some companies even use robots to manufacture products. Technology is everywhere, the only problem is that there is not enough “geeks” around to know how to run it. So because very few students have the math and technology skills there has become a talent gap. With this talent gap begins problems for companies who need employees that can run and understand this technology. The school system these days doesn’t except those students who are creative. They teach children from a young age to just study and repeat what they learn. This causes problems for those students who are creative also for those students who are to intelligent to do this. So they train students to become repetitive. Which causes many students to have trouble with college and university. Thus having less students graduate and go out into the employment world. Also those students who have the math and technology brain don’t know about all the careers that they can get into. So most students take the most common degree. Which is why there is not enough talented students to have for employees in this day and age.

  6. Destiny S

    There is a large gap between the new skills required for advertising jobs and the number of people who possess these skills. The article at hand suggests that this is due to the large amount of unqualified individuals compared to the very few qualified individuals. If you possess the required skills you immediately become in high demand. Furthermore, this article notes that companies are all seeking the same employee, thus making the job requirements very specific. This is in part due to the large amount of user data collected by ad tech companies. This data is in turn provided to markets and agencies for analysis and marketing strategies. Some agencies are implementing training programs in the workplace for employees so that they can become immersed in technology and become more familiar with the new requirements. The article also makes note that some companies may perhaps be looking for individuals to fulfill too many roles (“a five-headed monster”) and employers may need to be more realistic in what they can expect from their employees. Finally, prospective employees should realize that the media buying market has been shifted towards quantitative from qualitative traits.

  7. Jillian K

    I believe that a big part of the talent gap that is occurring is the amount and the quality of company advertising and publicity that is done online. We are no longer talking about simple website codes, or marketing managers that just need to know how to design a billboard. We are talking about in depth, complicated html coded websites that can perform every imaginable function. Creative and timely advertising that is up to the current technological standards. Many of us are going to school and learning about things like target markets and product life cycles but we come out with no practical ability to create the marketing campaigns we can come up with.

    I think the U of L’s Information Systems major is a great idea. That is giving students a more technical background in the systems that we are all coming to rely on so much. In addition, another thing that is being offered that could help solve this problem is the new double major of Marketing mixed with New Media, providing students with the Marketing knowledge and the practical technical skills to apply it.

  8. Antonio Raho

    There is a talent gap growing between skills that new advertising jobs require and the number of people who actually have those skills because the advertising companies have unrealistic expectations of their ideal candidate. These advertising companies are expecting their ideal candidate to appeal to customers now as well as in the future, assuming their employees can predict what will be of interest to the consumers in 2 weeks, 1 month, 6 months. Their expectations for these individuals are ridiculous. Because the advertisement companies expect such huge things from their employees, their salaries are correspondingly huge. It is unreasonable for these companies to expect one person can do so much in a company, and they expect them to be able to do so with an education from college or university. If these advertisement companies are so detailed and specific on what they require in an employee they should be putting together a degree program through their company that an individual with a diploma in marketing or advertisement can join into the learn just what it is that these companies require of their employees. If the companies were willing to invest the time and money into developing an education program which teaches exactly what they expected of their employees they wouldn’t have issues finding the right candidates for the job and they wouldn’t be disappointed with the quality of employee that is coming out of universities and colleges everywhere.

  9. Hassan Al Sarrar

    This talent gap exists due to many reasons and facts. First, technology is becoming a must for the success for each business and involved in each department of business not only advertising. This creation of technology and the need of it is one reason to create this gap where not that much of employees are capable of all aspects dealing with this developing technology out there to recruit. Second, technology and advertisement are totally different working areas and requires certain skills to manage each, but ad tech firms are looking for people who have both skills, which are impossible for today’s education settings. If you surveyed enough sample size of student now, you cannot even come up with student encouraged or have passion on both field, but actually more towards technology rather than advertising. So, advertising is not considered as real path for a career life for student as much as technology or other fields. Universities and colleges don’t offer a combined field of study of these two professions as well. What should companies do to gain more skilled employees and reduce this gap is to have on-going training for developing technologies for employees. Also, the profession of ad tech should be address more precisely to younger students so it could be a passion for some. Education institutions also need to offer the relating teaching method to master these two professions.

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