Only Half of Marketers Have Training in Key Skills

Marketing recruitment consultancy

Training should be a top priority for both employers and employees. According to AAT, 51% of employers believe that improving staff qualifications and skills helps to increase commitment and retention. Meanwhile, 91% of Millennial professionals consider the potential for career progression a top priority when looking for a new job, but 53% have been disappointed by a lack of personal development training at a new job, according to data from Robert Walters. However, despite both employers and employees recognising the importance of training, research by the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) has revealed that only just over half (51%) of marketers have had training in a number of key skills.


IDM Categories

The IDM created a list of 33 skills under five categories, comprising content/creative, data, direct/digital, management and strategy/planning. Over a third of people surveyed said that they had received no training in any of the 33 skills in the last 12 months, although the number rose to 47% for people who had been in their current role for at least five years. Of the marketers who had received training in these skills, 52% said that it led to recognition and 28% said that it resulted in a promotion. 23% of those who responded to the survey used their skills to find another job elsewhere; perhaps not great news for their current employers, but still positive for the employees themselves, their new employers and the industry as a whole.


The IDM further identified the top 13 skills from the full list of 33 that were top priority. Only 1 in 5 marketers surveyed had any training in these skills, with only Search Marketing and Analysing Customer Data/Insight having more than 20% of marketers trained in the skills. Less than 10% had training in top priority managerial skills, such as Communications Planning and Strategy, Presentation/Public Speaking, Marketing Finance and Appraising Employee Performance.


The right training for marketers benefits both employers and employees.

Employees get to progress in their careers, achieving personal development that helps them at work and can improve their lives at home too. Employers enjoy the benefit of employees who have the skills that they need to take on more responsibility and promotions, helping them to avoid the need to hire more senior staff. Improved staff retention reduces the need to hire staff at all. According to research by Unum and Oxford Economics, the average cost of replacing a staff member is £30,614.


While marketers might be keen to secure the skills that they need to advance in their careers, employers can be more hesitant. Of course, one worry is that once they have spend money on training, their employees could choose to leave and take their new skills elsewhere. While that is certainly a risk that employers must take, it’s important to think about whether neglecting to train staff is any better than having them leave. If you’re not helping them to fulfil their potential, how much use can they really be?


Training should take priority for marketers and for their employers. It benefits everyone if marketers are given the skills that they need to do their jobs better.