Demand for IT skills - including those of digital marketers - is continuing to rise, with pay growing fast and a skills shortage looming.
If one trend has been extremely apparent in recent months across the UK economy, it has been the rapid growth in employment. This has been welcome news for the government as the jobless figures have plummeted, while the fall in benefit claimants has been good news for the strained public purse.
However, while the jobs market has been improving, the latest data suggests that there are emerging problems in a range of industries as skills shortages emerge. The latest jobs report by KPMG and the Recruiters and Employers Confederation (REC) has suggested the situation may be becoming acute in some instances, with even bricklayers earning huge pay rewards to fill vacancies.
The digital sector is another where demand for talent has been increasing. In a classic case of lies, damned lies and statistics, the survey found that the rise in the level of demand for permanent IT positions saw a seasonally-adjusted drop in November to a 16-month low, while the rise in demand for temps in the sector was at its weakest in six months.
However, alongside this was the contextual truth that both these figures remain historically high. In other words, demand is still growing, just not as fast as before. Moreover, employers were still keener to take on IT staff than recruiters in any of the other eight industries included in the survey.
The fact that the market for IT skills remains hot - even if it is no longer white hot - may explain why the research showed salary growth is still on an upward trend.
Digital marketing was one of the skills listed as being most sought after at present, alongside C+, developers, Java, .Net, PHP, and web designers.
With demand high and pay on the rise, managers keen to bring in skilled digital marketers will clearly need to be smart with their strategies for bringing in the best staff and could benefit from consulting with the experts on how to hire and retain the best staff in this area.
Evidently, with pay rates going up, good reward packages may be the most essential component, in order to be competitive. However, additional benefits in terms of pay, conditions and opportunities for career development may also tip the balance in the battle to recruit and keep talent.
The intensity of the job market may become even greater still next year, as the economy is expected to go on growing substantially, even if not as fast as the three per cent annual rate the latest Markit / CIPS purchasing managers indexes suggest will be recorded over the course of this year.
However, that means skills shortages will tend to increase in 2015. Discussing this prospect, chief executive of REC Kevin Green commented: “If there’s a cloud on the horizon for 2015 it’s the intensifying skills shortage which now spans many sectors and is particularly acute in high-skilled areas like engineering, IT and medicine."
For this reason, businesses will need to be on the ball in 2015, whether it means being more competitive with rewards, offering better prospects or being willing to recruit far and wide from other sectors - or even overseas. Indeed, it may be best to do all of these things to get ahead of the rest as the talent pool is squeezed.