‘Brands face exodus over development’

Companies face losing their best marketers because they are failing to invest in training and development programmes, according to a report.

Walking away

An online survey of 500 senior marketers by recruiter Michael Page has found that 61% believe their company is not doing enough to retain marketing staff.

Paul Sykes, managing director of Michael Page’s marketing division says that the recession has led to many companies focusing on short-term gain over staff development.

He adds that failure to invest in “top talent” by finding ways for them to “learn, adapt, and move with their environment” via external training and role development means brands risk losing some of their most valuable staff as well as creating a perception among potential new recruits that it is a company unable to keep senior staff. “When an organisation loses its key marketers it becomes more and more difficult to attract the best people; as ‘talented people’ want to join a talented culture”, he adds.

“Top marketers are looking for ways to enhance their careers by working on interesting or new projects, not just sitting tight in the current market conditions. They want the opportunity to help grow the business and increase market share.”

David Thorp, director of research and professional development at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, says the lack of training and development, coupled with continued uncertainty over job security – Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan’s annual salary survey found 53% of marketing departments will be restructured in 2012 – and little growth in salary levels in recent years is a “dangerous mix” for companies.

“I would suggest that companies sit up and take notice and explore the extent of their staff’s feelings and – if they want to keep them to be prepared to invest in their development as professional marketers.”

Promotions and career development were cited as the most important means of retaining staff, 51% ranking it first. Flexible working was second on 13.9%, followed by an effective communications strategy, 12.9%.

Salary increases ranked among the least important factors in an effective retention strategy, with just 12% of senior marketers citing it as the primary motivation to stay put.

In terms of recruiting high-calibre staff, “employer branding” – the perception candidates have of the company brand – came out top with 43% of marketers citing it as the most important factor for attracting staff. Remuneration is second on 29.8%.

Elsewhere, a significant minority, 46.1%, of those polled expect to increase their headcount by the end of 2012. The rest say they will either keep their employee numbers the same, 38.9%, or less, 15%.

More than two-thirds (66.7%) of companies say they will pay their marketers bonuses or increase salaries in 2012.

Digital trends

80% say there is a shortfall of digital experience in their marketing team
34% of companies would hire an external agency to make up a shortfall in digital skills, 24% would hire a permanent employee, while 20.8% would draft in a skilled intern.

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