How to build a marketing team ready to win 2021
By Diane Domeyer
Posted on 01-14-2021
2020 was the year of thinking on your feet. For leaders, it meant making quick decisions about pandemic safety, office closures and remote work — all while staying on top of long-term challenges, such as keeping pace with the digital revolution.
Hopefully 2021 gives us all a little time to breathe and strategize. If you are a creative and/or marketing hiring manager, part of that might include an assessment of your team. Here is what you need to know about the latest recruitment trends that will help you build a marketing team to take your company to the next level.
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5 trends in creative and marketing jobs
It is an unpredictable time — and creative and marketing professionals know it. According to Adobe’s State of Creativity survey , 87 percent of creatives think the events of 2020 will have a lasting impact on the industry. And around 83 percent think they need to expand their creative skill sets to stay relevant.
The same applies to teams — If you want to stay competitive, you must upskill and grow. The Creative Group 2021 Salary Guide points to trends that will impact almost every employer. In general, the overall trend is for diverse, dynamic teams with a lot of tech expertise.
Digital transformation is accelerating. Most companies and agencies are still working toward full digital maturity. As COVID-19 drives more consumers online, creative and marketing leaders are focused on improving digital customer experiences and enhancing websites and mobile apps, according to a survey by The Creative Group. Employers are looking for professionals with digital marketing and design experience to help deliver these business initiatives, but it is proving to be a tight labor market for creatives with the skills needed.
Diversity and inclusion are front and center. 2020 prompted conversations about inequality and underrepresented groups, and 91 percent of creative teams in Adobe’s survey have become inspired to bring real-world issues into their work. Creative and marketing teams are in a key position to help create inclusive marketing campaigns, as well as promote their company’s inclusion and diversity efforts. These tasks require a creative group with a variety of ideas, experiences and backgrounds.
Teams are shifting to hybrids of remote and on-site staff. 2021 may see the end of shelter-in-place orders, but 74 percent of professionals said they will still want to work from home at least some of the time, according to a survey for the Salary Guide. Remote teams have advantages — 60 percent of workers cited improved work-life balance during the pandemic — but also downsides, such as isolation and a lack of managerial oversight. Many teams will have a mix of at-home and in-office workers, and it will be up to leaders to knit them into a cohesive unit.
COVID-19 has changed recruitment. As a result of the pandemic, 54 percent of companies said they are conducting remote interviews and onboarding, while 42 percent are looking for fully remote workers. These changes can have a positive impact. Hiring remote employees means you can look for star performers anywhere in the world, and a streamlined recruitment process allows you to snap up promising talent ahead of less agile competitors.
Leaders must build a resilient business. Managers are trying to cope with two competing priorities. On one hand, you must keep staffing budgets stable so you can weather a potential recession. On the other, you need to build a marketing team to help grow market share. The compromise is to look at flexible staffing solutions — short-term hires who can come in and help deliver projects on schedule.
In-demand creative and marketing jobs in 2021
Some of the hottest creative and marketing jobs right now are in the digital area. Experts in user experience (UX), user interface (UI) and search engine optimization/marketing (SEO/SEM) are particularly sought after. Here are some of the most in-demand positions, along with their national, midpoint starting salaries:
Digital strategist — $81,000
UX researcher — $89,000
Video producer — $74,250
Salaries vary from region to region, and you can use our Salary Calculator to find starting salaries for creative and marketing roles in your city.
How to hire and retain top talent
Despite a larger candidate pool, the recruitment market is likely to remain competitive in 2021, especially for highly skilled creative and marketing professionals. Here is how to secure the talent you need.
Offer great benefits and perks. Most employees want the familiar core benefits: health insurance (wanted by 68 percent of workers surveyed for the Salary Guide), paid time off (63 percent), dental coverage (59 percent) and a retirement savings plan (55 percent). Professionals are also enthusiastic about perks that became popular during the pandemic, such as flexible schedules and remote work options.
Speed up the hiring process. Most candidates apply for multiple jobs, which means you’re always in competition for the best talent. Make sure you have clarity on the job requirements and hiring process before you search for candidates. That way, when you find the right person, you can move quickly to make them an offer — before someone else does.
Practice empathy and transparency. During this period of uncertainty, leaders may have to make tough decisions, from layoffs to restructuring. Employees may have low morale or be on the verge of burnout. The challenge is to manage these changes in a way that is fair and respectful, and it often comes down to communicating decisions and listening to employee feedback . If you treat your employees well, you will see the reward — 60 percent of workers surveyed said they are more motivated to work at a company that values its staff during uncertain times.
Stay true to your values. One-third of people in a separate survey by Robert Half, TCG’s parent company, said they are interested in a more meaningful or fulfilling job. Strong values can help you secure the best talent. When talking to potential or current employees, be sure to communicate your company’s principles and impact. What are your goals? How does your company benefit customers and the wider community? And how is your team part of that mission?
2020 was a challenging year, but managers can draw on lessons learned from the pandemic and new trends in our industry to build a marketing team that’s strong, inspired and digitally focused in 2021. Keep these insights and in-demand skills in mind to help you hire and retain top talent in the new year.