Digital marketing and PR recruitment bounce back from COVID-19 — Wadds inc.

Digital marketing and PR recruitment bounce back from COVID-19 — Wadds inc.


Recruitment is a leading indicator of a economic recovery. In digital marketing and PR it has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels but several sectors remain challenged.

Hiring freezes removed as organisations invest in both replacement hires and growth

Sectors of the economy impacted by COVID-19 such as hospitality and travel continue to suffer

Competence in publicity and data-led practice are in high demand

Salaries are flat but there’s huge opportunity for brave candidates

Entry level roles remain challenging and are unlikely to return until the end of lockdown

Organisations are investing in their employer brand and talent

Recruitment in the PR and digital marketing sectors is back to the level that it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, if not higher. This is the view of the team at Reuben Sinclair.

I’ve recently joined the  Reuben Sinclair management team as a non executive director to help develop its PRogress network for agency founders and managers, and RS-Engage its outsourced talent offer.

Impact of COVID-19 on recruitment in digital marketing and PR

Organisations are focused not only on replacement hires but also investment and growth. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has provided confidence that there is a way out of the crisis despite the latest UK lockdown.

Hiring has previously been impacted by lockdowns. In April 2020 it dropped by four-fifths and picked up as restrictions eased during the summer. In September it was at 40% of pre-pandemic levels.

The impact of COVID-19 on talent in the digital marketing and PR sector has been as brutal as other professional services sectors. Cuts were deep in areas of the economy most exposed to the virus. Uncertainty led to hiring freezes right across the market.

The impact of lockdown itself on the hiring process cannot be understated. The recruitment and onboarding process has had to be rebuilt for this new operation environment. This work has been done although the challenge of onboarding entry level apprentices and graduates remains acute.

This renewed level of activity is expected to continue through the first half of 2021 as organisations manage pent-up demand and seek to return to growth. A further boom is expected as the economy bounces back.

Candidates, roles and remuneration

Salary levels have remained flat during the pandemic. In markets where demand is high there is likely to be some inflation in the coming months.

“Technology, finance and healthcare are doing really well and that won’t change any time soon, in fact, as the fourth industrial revolution has been accelerated by COVID-19, we’ll likely see these areas continue to rise,” said Rohan Shah, managing director and co-founder, Reuben Sinclair.

Sectors of the economy impacted by COVID-19 such as hospitality and travel continue to suffer. Anyone impacted in these sectors should seek out opportunities elsewhere.

Confidence has yet to translate to the candidate market but anyone willing to consider a move will see a dividend in terms of role and remuneration.

“Employers need to remain competitive, not having to travel to the office does not mean a reduction in salary,” said Shah.

Skillsets: data, insights, storytelling and pitching

There remains a need for the publicists who can combine creative storytelling, content generation and pitching. This fundamental skill set continues to be in demand agency-side.

COVID-19 has been an accelerant for integration in agencies and organisations. There is demand for roles in social media and content marketing, research and insights, and paid social.

The industry is focused on attracting people with competence in data and insights. Avoid bubbles by looking outside the digital marketing and PR sectors to attract diverse talent and skillsets.

Entry level market has stalled

There is a hesitancy among employers to hire at junior levels because of the challenge of remotely onboarding and training a candidate with no prior experience.

This situation is unlikely to change until lockdown is released. The Kickstarter scheme should then act as an accelerant for hiring at this level.

The DWP has confirmed the PRCA’s status as a Gateway organisation for the Kickstarter scheme. 25 PR agencies have secured funding to create 60 jobs.

Employers that have a robust approach to remote training and development have the pick of exceptional entry level candidates.

It’s tough for entry level Jobseekers. Try to keep on top of the competition by blogging and engaging in the sectors where you are looking for work.

Invest in employer brand

More than ever recruits are scrutinising how organisations treat candidates during the recruitment process.

The recruitment and retention experience should be no different to how you would treat clients. It should be robust and fair.

“Our clients are working closely with us to implement a fair and just recruitment process that eliminates layers of unconscious bias whilst allowing them to hire the best candidate for the job,” said Shah.

Reuben Sinclair has seen a notable rise in employers seeking consultancy on how they can increase the value of their employer brand.

Further information

If you’re facing any of the recruitment or talent issues outlined in this blog and need support please get in touch.

This content was originally published here.

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