Marketing facing “worst-ever talent crisis” says WFA – but who’s going to pay to remedy it?

Marketing is facing its “worst-ever” talent crisis according to new research – ‘Media’s Got Talent?’ – from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and consultancy MediaSense. Data and analytics, ecommerce and measurement top skills shortages with over-specialisation, poor training and talent management blamed.

Nearly half (48%) of all advertisers, agencies, ad tech companies and media owners think the industry is facing such a crisis, peaking at 54% among agencies. 77% of respondents reported “some” or “high” scarcity of talent in their organisation, peaking at 85% in the agency and ad tech sectors, and at 81% in the US and 93% in APAC.

Overall, 67% of all respondents (76% in APAC) believe that talent scarcity is proving to be a major blocker to growth.

The findings come from 400 from some of the world’s largest advertisers, agencies, media platforms and technology companies. 81% of respondents at director level with advertiser respondents responsible for in excess of $110 billion in annual communications spend.

Data and analytics were highlighted as the single most important capability to prioritise for the next two years, with 71% of advertiser and 64% of agencies agreeing, significantly ahead of ecommmerce/retail media at 53% and 42% respectively.

WFA director global media services Matt Green says: “The talent crisis is affecting all parts of the industry and clients are feeling the pinch within their internal global media teams. But, as this research shows, the impact is particularly pronounced on the agency side and this is having a profound impact on the ability of clients to execute campaigns globally.

“While the industry couldn’t have predicted a global pandemic, this study also identifies intractable, but more predictable issues, that have had a dramatic impact including training, talent management and even a perceived lack of purpose. These factors need to be addressed for the health of all our businesses and in the interest of a stronger client and agency dynamic.”

The elephant in the room in this, and all such surveys showing talent shortages, is who pays to remedy them? Advertisers continue to grind down agency margins and force extra costs on them with ludicrously protracted, unpaid pitches.

Sooner or later someone (advertisers presumably) will need to pay for the multi-skilled polymaths they say they require.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. As I say over ob AdScam… Because the most critical staff shortages are in data and analytics, eCommerce, retail media and measurement. In other words, “Bean counters.” Who gives a fuck? Not a single mention of creatives.

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