Is hiring confidence returning to the digital talent economy?

Over the last 18 months, there has been very little movement in the hiring market as a result of the impact of the global financial crisis and aftermath. Over those 18 months, client-side marketing and agency account service departments have taken the opportunity to investigate, research and discuss more strategic digital marketing solutions. What then suggests that there are glimpses indicating a return of confidence to the talent economy?

At Firebrand, we specialise in permanent recruitment services across Marketing, Creative and Digital spaces. Digital is further broken down into the following areas; Digital Account Service, Digital Creative, Digital Production (including development), SEO/SEM, Social, Digital Marketing and eCommerce. Those quiet 18 months saw a high demand from Firebrand clients for Digital Account Service professionals on the agency side, when compared to a significantly lower Digital Production demand. I believe that due to client-side marketing budgets being cut, agencies consolidated their production workforce as much as they could and focused on strategic digital marketing discussions with client accounts in anticipation of a return in confidence to the economy. This correlates with the high demand in digital account services and low demand in digital production professionals in 2011.

A few months into 2012 and what a great year it has been already. There is a consistent demand for account service professionals in the agency market place. In particular, we are witnessing the movement and integration of digital account service skill sets in teams, suggesting a demand for digital and social conversations with agency accounts. This in my mind suggests a positive return in confidence to hiring with a focus on new and improved client digital and social marketing and advertising strategies.

Towards the end of 2011, there was a considerable spike in demand for front and back-end developers — commonly hard-to-find skill sets. I believe the spike in demand was a direct result of agencies consolidating their digital production teams in 2011 and ultimately falling behind on project timelines. The spike in demand demonstrates the high-priority needs to deliver client projects on time and within budget.

The momentum of this necessary hiring confidence in digital production has certainly accelerated into 2012. When comparing this time last year, we are currently experiencing a 3-fold increase in demand for Digital Producers, Digital Project Managers and Web Developers. In particular, the increase in demand for Executive and Senior Digital Producers with skills and experience in large digital project management and delivery, large digital project budget management (AUD350k+), internal and external resource management and people management. Client-side marketing departments are now seeing a renewed confidence and return in budget, especially in digital marketing budgets.

What we are finding now is that the digital strategies discussed and researched in 2011, are being signed-off and put into digital production in 2012.

This confidence spreads right across Firebrand’s global network. Digital talent skill sets and experience is in such high demand that in some markets, Malaysia for example, “digital talent are being represented to a number of clients in different industry verticals”. In Singapore, some businesses are “shifting their manpower to regions where the digital skill set is available and cheaper offshore”. Other markets like Sydney, Hong Kong, Mainland China and Japan are similar to Melbourne and have observed a demand for digital production mobile and social skill sets. In Australia on the client side, “digital marketing demands are a one-off need to bolster a broader marketing team to cover the buzz about digital”.

The glimpses are there. This is going to be an exciting 2012!

Connect with Firebrand’s global digital team here

p.s. If you’re not sure what a talent economy is, it is an economic market place that is driven by candidate movement with in-demand skill sets. In particular, digital marketing and social skill sets.

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