Agencies need digital marketing talentCandidates often ask me: As a leading digital marketing agency recruiter, where do I see the strongest demand for talent on the agency side?  That’s a timely question with clients preparing their marketing strategies and budgets for 2017.  Several years ago while conducting research for my book, “Careers in Ecommerce and Digital Marketing,” I prepared a grid for digital marketing agency jobs, containing about two dozen marketing services categories and including everything from Advertising to User Experience, and examined the career outlook for each of them.  This past year, I actually kept a running scorecard. For the purposes of this article, when I use the word “agency” I’m referring to any and all services that offer solutions to branded clients.

On the agency side, digital strategists have been dominating the talent acquisition heat map this year.  In fact, the next largest category, web developers, had only half as many hash marks as strategy.  Below that, 4 or 5 other categories of digital marketing agency jobs are grouped closely together, kind of like what you’d see on a magic quadrant that has a couple of clear leaders and a bunch of second tier players. The next level down includes social media, ecommerce, content marketing, data analytics, Amazon, mobile, and an all purpose category I’ll call online media.  With all of the buzz surrounding data science, it’s no surprise that 2016 saw a big jump in calls from agencies looking to hire data experts. Another growing category is an area that agencies are calling Engagement or Experiential marketing, especially among those that cater to consumer services.

Amazon deserves honorable mention. This was probably the agency search category that showed the most growth this past year. It seems I am always on the hunt for an Amazon ace.  Many are self-employed, and the biggest challenge for these highly sought after specialists is having the bandwidth to take on new projects.

One thing for sure: In the nearly 20 years I’ve been a digital marketing agency recruiter, whether direct, interactive, creative or marketing technology, it’s never been more challenging to keep up to date on the latest trends and technology. Most of the digital agencies I know and work with are running at full or near capacity, particularly those with a specialized focus.  There’s definitely something to be said for getting really good at one thing, and in fact, most of the clients I work with on the brand side each employ multiple agencies to meet their specialized needs across the digital marketing spectrum. I see continued strong demand in filling digital marketing agency jobs for the foreseeable future.