Robin: What advice do you have for managers to make that move to director-level positions?
Bernhart: One thing that is so critical is leadership. People really need to think about how to develop those leadership skills. You need to have the ability to inspire and lead other people. It’s something I often see lacking in a mid-level person looking to move up. You need to be more of a strategic thinker. Think more about the business than the campaign or the fire of the day.
Robin: What executive-level roles do you see emerging for marketing professionals?
Bernhart: I’ve recently placed a VP of E-commerce and Marketing — so half of this person’s role is dedicated to the company’s online brand and e-commerce piece. Chief Digital Officer is a title that the trades say is gaining traction, but I am not seeing it that often. I see more Chief Experience Officer or Chief Customer Officer. This makes sense as companies are trying to become more customer-centric.
Robin: What can employers do to be more attractive to top performing marketing talent?
Bernhart: You know it’s not just about money. They need to show marketing is a high priority. Candidates want to be in an environment where they know there is commitment from a high-level for the online portion of the business.
The other thing is the package. They need to be competitive on compensation, bonuses, vacation and even relocation fees.
There really is a war for top talent. The employers that win tend to do it with the relationship between the candidate and leadership in the company.
Robin: What hiring trends do you see coming for 2017?
Bernhart: I think we’re going to see more requests for digital marketers in nontraditional industries such as manufacturing. Right now my number one search is in healthcare. That’s an industry that has been further behind in being customer focused, but they are getting there.
And I think top talent will continue to have lots of options. For this reason, employers will need to have a compelling proposition to attract candidates. Many of these high-performers are not actively looking, so employers will need to be able to cut through the clutter to grab their attention. Counter offers will become more common, too. Right now I see it happening about 50 percent of the time.
I also predict that postings for digital marketing positions will reach an all-time high just like they did this year. Of course, this is pending nothing big happens to the economy.
Salaries will rise for the most in-demand jobs. I have seen candidates get 20-25 percent increases and I think that will continue. In addition, relocation allowances will improve, even for more junior candidates.
Finally, Amazon will get bigger.
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