Unearthing top digital talent - a mindset shift

The rise of digital has been rapid and expansive and it is not set to plateau in the near future. Skill requirements change constantly, roles evolve and new roles types emerge.

I have been a recruitment consultant for ten years and specialised in digital for the last two and never have I seen the demand for talent so high and the supply so low. Businesses are find it challenging to meet the fast pace of the market around them.

There are close to 1000 digital vacancies on Seek alone, then think about LinkedIn, indeed, adzuna and those not advertised!

The question is where will we find the talent that have the skills and experience to fill these roles?

As a recruitment consultant in this space I have found my role becoming increasingly advisory. I find myself spending a lot more time consulting to the businesses I work with on digital structures, developing position descriptions (often because the role hasn’t previously existed), providing market intel, digital trends, salary and I play a key role in guiding my clients on what is realistic, given the low supply of talent with the right digital skills.

Digital roles continue to evolve

The ‘digital revolution’ is not over by a long way with many businesses investing in the latest and greatest technology stacks from the likes of Adobe, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Salesforce, Premium Google Analytics, Optimizely and the larger organisation implementing Data Management Platforms (DMP). As long as new technologies are introduced roles will continue to evolve. What I find interesting is that businesses are not evolving their talent strategy at the same pace.

Today many of the roles that once existed are no longer, technology and automation have replaced people. According to a recent Four Corners report five million Australian jobs will simply disappear in the next 15 years, as a result of technology. That's 40% of the jobs that exist in Australia today.

The emergence of a 5-day, 9.00 – 5.00 work week, born from the Henry Ford production line in the 1940’s, has made the way we work and our expectation around work incredibility regimented and this can impede businesses from finding the best talent.

Some of my clients are making the most of this regimented mindset by being open to options that are outside the square. And they are winning the war for top talent!

  1. Sponsorship

There is fantastic talent all over the world that can add a lot of value to your business. A client I worked with recently was looking for Digital Analysts and Conversion Optimisation Specialists (particularly difficult roles to fill). I know there is strong talent in the UK market and suggested this would be a good channel, unlike many they were open to it.

Result: I found two exceptional Digital Analytics people, one who was living in New Zealand, but originally from Indonesia and needed sponsorship, and the other was in Australia on a working visa from Barcelona. Since joining the team both have added so much value and are thriving!

Was it easy for this client to get approval – no. My client is very thankful that he was able to influence the business and gain their support, especially because the role has a commercial focus.

  1. Agency talent 

I have found businesses that are open to digital agency talent transferring across to client side are finding some great people. Some are open minded but I still get a lot of no's and the reality is that there are some exceptional people in Australia who could transition across. Do they tick every box? No. But with some development around stakeholder management and working within complex organisations I've seen people thrive and add so much value.

  1. Part-time or flexibility

Part-time / flexible working hours is another hot topic. Of course not all businesses can accommodate this but having an open mind may just get you top talent that you would have otherwise missed out on.

There is some great, very capable talent out there; return to work mums, people who have their own business or freelancers.

Just recently I placed an Online Channel and Optimisation role within a retail business who had been searching for four months. They had never considered a part-time person. There were a few internal hoops to jump through and it was a bit of a trial and adjustment but now three months on they have secured someone who is doing a fabulous job.

  1. Investment in training and development up front

Hiring on attitude and investing in training and development from the outset is something that some businesses do really well. As technology develops and businesses invest in new systems for analytics, a single customer view, social channels, website platforms and CRM’s you will never find someone who has everything. But investing from the outset can be a good way to overcome this and secure the best talent.

One of my retail clients (who I have worked with for eight years!) sent their new team member to an external course in their first week to ensure that they were set up for success and delivered to their maximum potential in a short period of time. Six months later they are flying and both couldn't be happier.

These days it is a fight for top talent and having that top talent gives you a competitive edge. You cannot rely on an old school mindset to get the best people. I guarantee you if you consider these ‘outside the square’ options you will be at an immediate advantage!

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Jo Krause

Manager, Digital & Marketing Specialist

Connect with Jo on LinkedIn

Jo is the Six Degrees digital and marketing specialist. A true expert in her field, she is totally immersed in digital trends across social, content, online analytics, SEO, SEM and ecommerce. As one of the business’ most experienced consultants, having joined Six Degrees in 2008, she is responsible for all senior digital recruitment within Retail, Consumer Goods, Services, Sports/Entertainment and Technology.