Private equity firms have been investing heavily in the education sector over the course of the last 12 months, as the industry increasingly becomes a significant marketplace for global companies keen to broaden their portfolio.
This is a potentially lucrative area for investment; after all, the importance of strong education systems is recognised globally and students in the K-12 age-group have higher expectations than ever before.
As more people move around the world to get their education, competition is becoming fierce – which means that education providers need to work hard to attract potential clients, either in terms of students or business partners. As a result opportunity for high class marketing professionals within the sector is likely to increase over the coming years.
The fact that the public sector is being scaled back in many countries - for instance, the UK - means that private companies are finding a gap into which they can squeeze when it comes to high-quality service provision in education.
However, along with such change comes anxiety around the impacts of privatisation. It will therefore be essential that education providers run effective marketing campaigns to effectively communicate with their target audiences to attract quality students - the way in which Bupa has competed with the NHS through its well-crafted advertising campaigns could provide a salutary example. To remain competitive education providers will need to ensure they employ the best marketing and communications talent to run targeted campaigns.
As the sector becomes more diverse and more geographically complex, marketers will find their roles developing; given the importance of engaging with potential buyers across different countries, they could find themselves placed in more of a directional position, helping company’s plan for the future.
For candidates looking for marketing opportunities within the education industry, EMR recommends that professionals attempt to gain as much international experience as possible, given the global bend of the sector.
Showing that they have an interest in the wider world, perhaps through having travelled extensively or worked abroad for a period of time, would indicate that potential hires will be able to cope with different cultures and help when it comes to formulating marketing strategies that will work on a global basis.
An interest in the general technology sector is also likely to help. As partnerships between public and private institutions develop over the coming years, British hubs such as Tech City in London are likely to prove fruitful breeding grounds for a new generation of educational firms, meaning this could be the place to be for candidates eager to grasp a role in the industry.