Since I work nationally and speak with candidates from literally dozens of cities and states during the course of any given week, I have a perspective that many others don’t have, so I thought it might be useful to share this first of its kind status report on select markets where the action seems to be (or isn’t, as the case may be), and some of the challenges employers as well as job seekers are facing:
Minneapolis- I’m going to start with my own backyard. The digital commerce scene here is vibrant and thriving, especially among smaller digital agencies. Many of the Fortune 1000’s that are based here are also adding to their digital marketing and ecommerce bench strength.
Atlanta. Most of the activity I’m seeing there is either on the agency side or with start-ups, and there seems to be plenty of it. Atlanta has been among my top markets over the past several years.
NY/CT/NJ. If I ever decided to set up a special phone line exclusively for candidates and employers in the tri-state area, the cost would be easy to justify, more so for New York and New Jersey where the calls and emails come in practically every day. The sheer number of businesses in this area with digital marketing and ecommerce jobs to fill sets this region apart. And that’s not to say it’s always easy for those who are looking. Executive level candidates can easily spend 6 -9 months landing that next opportunity, but at the lower levels, digital and ecommerce jobs in particular are abundant, particularly on the agency side where I’m seeing digital agencies scoop up highly sought after candidates in as little as one month between initial application and start-date. I actually had one search last year go down in record time in Manhattan: Offer was made on the spot during the first interview on a Friday, and the candidate started the next Monday!
Chicago. I’ve noticed that opportunities at the senior-most levels have tightened up somewhat in recent years, and some highly experienced candidates I know have ended up relocating because of it. But at the lower to middle-levels, demand remains strong.
Texas. This has been my top market for the past 3 years running. Not sure what it is, but companies down there are hungry for digital talent. Practically every candidate I’ve placed in that state received more than one offer, and all of this action is also pushing up salaries. In fact, I’m probably seeing more salary inflation there than just about anywhere else. Out-of-staters from high tax locations like the Northeast are getting an extra boost because Texas has no state income tax. Not surprisingly, Austin has been the hot bed for digital marketing and ecommerce jobs
San Francisco. Here, it’s all about the sky high cost of housing. Most of my clients don’t even ask me any more if I think I can find someone from out of state because they know what I’m going to tell them. According to the real estate firm Coldwell Banker, the 11 U.S. cities with the most expensive housing prices are in California, and six of them are in the 50-mile stretch between San Francisco and Los Gatos. That immediately limits the pool of talent to mostly home-grown, which makes the outlook especially rosy for the most in-demand local candidates in ecommerce, search and front-end development. Digital sales is also a hot category, as I found out recently when I was looking for both a sales rep and a sales manager for a digital technology start up in San Jose. New recruiting calls kept coming at my my candidates throughout the entire process. I was fortunate to hang on to one of them- credit to my client who pulled the trigger quickly.
Los Angeles. Ditto here as far cost of housing goes. Relocations are now very few and far between, but the area also has a flourishing start-up community, much of it pure play online.
Florida. You can’t have a discussion about opportunities in digital marketing and ecommerce jobs without talking about Florida, and all I can say is that there is no other place quite like it. No where is turnover higher, but all of that moving around creates openings. Living in the sunshine state has its trade-offs, including generally lower salaries compared with other markets. I get more employer calls from “down under” than anywhere else, other than the Northeast. Many of the opportunities I hear about tend to be either early stage management-owned start-ups or established businesses based in other states that are expanding operations there.
Honorable mentions go to Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Ohio and Raleigh NC.
All in all, those who want a job in this space can definitely find it, particularly if you’re willing to consider relocation. Some of the smaller markets are really struggling to find talent, and employers in those locations are rolling out the red carpet for talented out-of-staters to fill their digital marketing and ecommerce jobs.
Jerry Bernhart, Principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, is one of the nation’s preeminent and veteran executive recruiters in ecommerce, digital and multichannel marketing, and CRM. With more than 80 published LinkedIn articles, Jerry is the “voice” of best practices in the recruitment and hiring of ecommerce and digital marketing professionals. Jerry is also the author of the critically acclaimed book, “Careers in Ecommerce and Digital Marketing,” on Amazon, and participates in many leading digital marketing and ecommerce conferences. Jerry has been recruiting and placing marketing professionals for more than 28 years. Check out Jerry’s other insights on the Thought Leadership section of the Bernhart Associates website.
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