There has been a recent resurgence in recruitment in the industry, but
sector figures are uneven, writes Ken Gofton
There was no let up in the restructuring of marketing departments in
1995. The merging of product groups, divisions and subsidiaries, and the
removal of management layers, meant that most sectors finished last year
with fewer marketing directors and top managers. But with economic
recovery leading to additional work loads, there is a very buoyant
demand for brand managers.
Many companies cut staff to the bone in the recession and stopped all
graduate training and recruitment. What is happening now, argues David
Pakeman, chief executive of recruitment specialist The Lloyd Group, is
that those companies are finding the upturn in business is putting
enormous pressure on their marketing teams. Hence the current rush to
recruit extra hands.
But Pakeman has also been in the business long enough to know demand is
cyclical - enjoy the good times while they last, he suggests.
Putting figures to the scale of the recruitment boom is not easy, but
we’ll try. One source is London-based Data Management Services Group
(DMS) which, on a six-weekly cycle, checks who is holding what key jobs
in the UK’s top 3000 advertisers.
The information is collected by job title, but because a given title can
mean different things in different companies - and because the main
purchasers of the information are ad agencies which need to be up to
date on the marketing world’s movers and shakers - the data is processed
by job responsibility.
DMS tracks three major categories:
* Key advertising decision makers - in the main, marketing directors
* Initial advertising decision makers - equivalent to senior marketing
* Brand and product managers.
In our charts we’ve homed in on three key sectors for jobs. In food
there has been a drop of 48 (17.8%) at marketing director level over the
past year. The number of senior marketing managers is also down, though
only by 21 (7%). But there are an extra 44 brand managers in the
industry, a jump of 10.5%.
There’s a similar story in drinks. Top jobs have shrunk - director level
and senior manager level are down by 13.5% and 7% repectively - while
the number of brand managers has grown nearly 15%.
It is financial services that provides the contrast. Although the number
of marketing directors or equivalent dipped in early, it is about 4% up
on where it was in February last year. The number of senior marketing
managers is unchanged. Meanwhile, the number of brand managers recorded
in the sector has rocketed by 138 - or 61%. Put it down to all those
direct-sell insurance and Personal Equity Plan launches.
About the only two sectors where there has been any significant increase
in the number of director-level marketing jobs are industrial marketing
and ‘office automation’, which takes in the booming IT area.
Overall, the consultancy claims that the number of brand managers
employed in the companies it monitors has increased by almost 1000 in
the past year. In contrast, there are 275 fewer marketing directors and
111 fewer senior marketing directors. The way DMS monitors the marketing
profession also means it keeps tabs on who is switching companies and
who is being promoted. It is a measure of the ‘churn’ going on in the
marketplace that the numbers of vacancies, internal promotions and
people moving between companies are at their highest levels for at least
Naturally, actual appointments lag behind jobs being advertised. But the
volume of job ads provides another check on what is happening in the
market. Haymarket Business Publications has a central monitoring
department which tracks the sector in Marketing, Campaign, PR Week and
various competing titles, as well as in the national press.
The unit reports a 13% jump in the volume of advertising for marketing
posts last year, with brand manager vacancies up by 23%. Star performers
were the motor industry (up 63%), IT (up 37%) and leisure (up 32%).
Business-to-business and retail also performed strongly.
Oddly, the unit says the volume of ads for financial services vacancies
fell slightly last year after two very strong years, which conflicts
with a surge of new brand managers in the sector.
However, the two studies are measuring different things and the review
of ad volumes takes no account of internal promotions or the activities
of head hunters. In almost every other respect, the two sources
reinforce each other.
Among marketing support services, there have been 43% more jobs
advertised for market research and 22% for advertising agencies - mainly
outside London as the capital’s agencies rely more on head hunters and
deal mainly with media and new business jobs. Direct marketing has also
stepped up its recruitment advertising by about 9%.
Haymarket’s monitoring department also reports a ‘fairly dramatic’
switch to client companies using recruitment consultancies and greater
use being made of the specialist press rather than national newspapers.
What marketers will need for the millenium
A few years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to get into marketing without a
degree. Now it is nearly impossible, as the business continues to evolve
and becomes more demanding. We asked some of the UK’s top recruitment
consultancies what marketers might need in the next century.
A first degree in an arts subject is fine, but many believe this should
now be reinforced by a broad business degree such as an MBA or MSc.
Ideally, it should be taken in the early 20s - the usual pattern in the
US - after a couple of years of work experience.
‘UK marketers moving to the US, or working for a US corporation, are
likely to find themselves under-qualified without an MBA,’ says Steve
Ingham, managing director of Michael Page Marketing, whose company keeps
a huge database of people working in marketing. It shows that 7% of
people between 25 and 30 in packaged goods have an MBA, with a similar
proportion in financial services. But for the over 30s, it rises to 9.3%
in FMCG and 11.8% in financial services.
As EMR’s David Bodmer says, a business degree will help pull you out of
the crowd. But with companies switching increasingly from ‘spend, spend,
spend’ marketing to brand managers who are profit-aware and accountable,
‘if you haven’t been trained in that, it will be difficult’.
Tomorrow’s marketing directors will need a broader business
understanding, which points to the value of experience in production,
sales and category management.
Malcolm Farquharson of the Davis Company points to the growing
importance of computers, CD-ROM and multimedia in marketing. He is
echoed by the Lloyd Group’s David Pakeman, who says that even the top
‘marketing universities’ such as Unilever and Mars are not paying enough
attention yet to the impact that interactive media and the Internet are
having on the new generation of consumers.
Languages, too, will be important as international business grows.
Packaged goods marketers do rather better on languages, according to the
Michael Page database, with almost 24% of the under-30s claiming to be
fluent in French, German or Spanish. For their City-based colleagues,
the figure is 14%.
But as Julian Kirkpatrick, a director of Management Match International
points out, whether marketing becomes more international or not in the
new millenium, there will have to be a trade off between the global mass
branding of the big multinationals and the trend towards individual
relationships with consumers. And that’s a challenge today’s marketers
would do well to start thinking about now.