The recruiters’ view

Find out which jobs are the hardest to fill.

  • Click here to read the cover story relating to this ’The hardest marketing jobs in the world’
  • Click here to find out how Mishcon de Reya is making its firm more marketable
  • Click here to read the Virgin Media case study

Paul Sykes, managing director, Michael Page Marketing

The public sector might be perceived as difficult to work in now because there is so much uncertainty, but 18 months ago there was plenty of innovative work going on and a lot of ad spend available. We used to have a lot of people with private sector backgrounds who were interested in working in the public sector.

It’s logical for tobacco to come out top in the research because of the ethical issue. It’s not the place it was 20 years ago with regards to marketing opportunities. However, given the restrictions, it presents a unique proposition. The key is getting the right type of person looking to embrace the challenge.

The challenge with partner-led environments such as law and accountancy is that they don’t give marketers accountability and autonomy. Partners lead the company in the direction that it’s going in and there is not as much input from marketers.

If you’re an FMCG marketer, the prospect of working for an industrial business is probably not that appealing. But there are fantastic opportunities in gas and oil, for example.

Simon Bassett, managing director, EMR

Marketers tend to find a job less attractive if the customer is naturally disengaged with the product or service. Jobs of more interest often involve working with high profile consumer brands, in areas like social media, publishing, leisure and FMCG.

Marketers perceive a job as hard when there’s an inherent distrust of the product. Insurance and estate agents are good examples. It’s a very difficult service line for a marketer to differentiate him or herself in.

A position can also be hard to fill if it’s deemed socially unacceptable, such as marketing tobacco or gambling. The online gaming companies are recruiting quite heavily at the moment because it’s a big growth market, but it’s deemed socially unacceptable to promote gambling.

People are more interested in working in the big consumer brand product areas, but equally, working for a bank like RBS can be quite attractive because there’s so much work that needs to be done with the brand.

Roy Hoolahan, managing director, Ball & Hoolahan

Some people shy away from marketing roles in sectors like financial services or pharma health because they’re quite regulated.

Marketing tobacco can be quite a sexy job because there are still a lot of people out there who enjoy smoking. But some people find it unattractive for personal reasons and because it’s very regulated. The closedown in advertising is also occurring in sectors like children’s confectionery and alcohol.

Any job that doesn’t have any above-the-line ad opportunities could be hard to do but marketers just have to be more creative.

If you’re a consumer-trained marketer, you might find business-to-business marketing less interesting. Professional services are potentially unattractive because it’s essentially about B2B. 

It’s also challenging for a marketer to try to persuade the financial sector to think about the consumer and to deliver profit through understanding marketing insights. As a sector, they’re far more obsessed with working out what their products should be.

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