The Candidate’s Market in 2018

The state of the hiring landscape within marketing ebbs and flows year over year. While the marketer to job ratio continues to change, often, our hiring practices do not. So today we are taking a deep dive into the current job market in marketing and sharing practical takeaways that you can implement in 2018.

At first glance, current hiring numbers look disconcerting. In 2017, U.S. companies hired, on average, 3.8 marketing professionals according to our 2018 Marketing Hiring Trends Report. This is down from 5.6 in 2016 representing a decline of over 30 percent.

Should we be concerned that fewer marketers are getting jobs?

Short answer: no. While hiring is down, we also know that at the start of 2017 the national unemployment rate was 4.8 percent which economists refer to as “full employment.”

At “full employment” businesses have an extremely difficult time finding available, qualified workers to fill job openings. Over the last year, the unemployment rate has decreased to just 4.4 percent meaning the pool of available talent is even smaller.

Marketers should not be concerned that hiring is slowing to a halt. In fact, they should know that hiring trends are on their side. The decline in hiring we saw in 2017 is likely due in large part to the fact that there are not enough qualified candidates for the jobs that are open.

“This is true across industries and we can see it specifically in marketing hires. There are more open positions than qualified marketers to fill them.” -Michelle Boggs, President and CEO of McKinley Marketing Partners

A Comparison of Supply and Demand

Let’s zoom out to get a macro look at the job market overall. In early 2018, the Labor Department reported 5.8 million job openings on the last business day of 2017 in the U.S. This is up from 5.5 million on the same day in 2016 and 5.6 million on the same day in 2015.

And in the field of marketing, the pattern is similar. Sixty-nine percent of companies plan to grow their marketing teams in 2018, up from just 49 percent last year. And with fewer marketers available than there are marketing jobs open, demand continues to outrun supply.

The most in demand marketing function, digital marketing, continues to soar with 59 percent of planned marketing hires expected to come from this area in 2018. But supply of available marketers with these skill sets who are ready for a new opportunity is down to just 19 percent. In fact, in every functional area except for communications, research and analysis, and relationship management, supply of available talent is down from 2017.  

Complicating matters further is what we refer to as the “latent talent pool,” or those job seekers who are either passive or neutral about their job search. This segment has grown considerably from 2017 and now represents 55 percent of all marketing candidates. You might be part of the “latent talent pool” if you occasionally search for open opportunities or would entertain a conversation with a recruiter if someone reached out to you.

What Hiring Managers Need to Know

If you need to fill a position, you need to approach the hiring process in a way that is unique to the candidate’s market. For a greater success rate consider:

  • Partnering with a staffing company that can help you reach hard to find talent. Ninety-seven percent of workers are open to moving on from their current position but only 24 percent are actively seeking new work. Outsourcing your candidate search to a staffing company can expedite the process of finding a candidate who is right for your position but who is not actively searching.
  • Making the application process simple. Your job description should be available on its own landing page that links out to the application. The more streamlined you can make the process, the better.
  • Implementing an employee referral program. Employee referrals have been proven to be an effective way to not only find but retain strong talent. Incentives and gamification are proven methods to grow employee engagement in the referral process.
  • Moving quickly to secure a strong candidate. Strong candidates are often only on the market for two weeks. Taking the time at the outset to establish a clear process and plan for all those involved in the hiring process will give you the freedom to move quickly when it counts.
  • Writing a job description that is clear. The stronger your job description, the less time you will waste on candidates who are truly not right for the position. For help writing the ultimate job description, use our free guide.

In a candidate’s market, applicants have options. And successful hiring managers know that a speedy process will help them lock in a great candidate before they move on to the next opportunity.

What Marketers Need to Know

When there are more open positions than there are qualified candidates applying, we refer to the job market as a “candidate’s market.” This means job applicants have the bargaining power and good candidates are few and far between. So if you get offered an opportunity to move on, consider the fact that you can:

  • ask for the salary you think you deserve
  • ask for other benefits as well such as flex time, semi-remote work, or profit sharing

McKinley Marketing Partners specializes in helping marketers find the perfect fit. To learn more about how we can serve you, fill out this brief form and we will be in touch.

Related Resources

Crafting the Ultimate Job Description [Workbook]
5 Tips to Attract an All-Star Candidate [Article]
How to Woo the Marketer of Your Dreams in 2018 [Article]
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by McKinley Marketing Partners