Digital Marketing has certainly become the latest buzzword when it comes to the online presence and promotion of a brand. But it would seem that there’s a skillset shortage when it comes to hiring digital marketing experts, where the expectations of candidates aren’t always met in reality.

Where before there were clearly defined sectors, such as Marketing (online and offline) and Social Media, these lines are now more blurred than ever with the introduction of a whole new ‘digital marketing’ category. This is especially prevalent in the Northern Ireland jobs sector where there’s definitely a digital marketing skillset shortage.

One of our clients, Origin Digital Ltd launched its own sister company, Mindworks after recognizing a gap in the market for a training academy to help marketeers really understand the digital landscape.

Working together to understand the industry in more depth, we conducted research on over 150 candidates to get a clearer picture on what employers expect from their employees, with surprising results.

· Only 52% of candidates for digital roles made it to interview stage

· 62% of candidates had an academic qualification in digital marketing

· Only 39% actually had on-the-job experience of application of these skill sets and using digital marketing tools

· The average salary that candidates sought was £33,500

· The average salary that employers were initially willing to pay: £28,000

· The average salary actually paid to successful candidates: £28,500

“This leaves recruiters in a very strange predicament as candidates have the relevant knowledge required but not necessarily the hands on experience in all areas of digital marketing that employers are looking for”, said Mairead Moore, Partner and digital marketing expert at KnownFour in Northern Ireland.

“There is a clear skills shortage in middle to senior level digital roles and it is increasingly difficult to source the right candidates, but I’m confident that the newly launched Mindworks will help to bridge that gap so that we can place the perfect candidates for our clients.”

Speaking of their decision to launch Mindworks, Jill Robb, Managing Director at Origin Digital Ltd and Workworks trainer said; “This misalignment of skill sets to academic qualifications and a focus on skills development was the core driver of us creating Mindworks Training Academy.”

“There are many marketeers with digital marketing academic qualifications who are unable to complete required job tasks because although they understand the theory, they don’t know how to use the tools they need on the job.”

While these figures highlight interesting problems that face the digital maketing industry in Northern Ireland, the future is certainly bright for marketeers who need the additional training to become the perfect candidates.