2015 was a year of on-going change in marketing recruitment and there are some key themes across all sectors.

Private Sector 

The good news is that we continue to see an investment in marketing functions with clients carefully considering their budget split across on and off-line activity. Marketing teams have continued to grow, predominantly among the junior to mid-level professionals (salaries £30,000 - £45,000) in addition to some specialist skills coming back to the fore, such as public relations and communications. At the senior end of the market we have also seen uplift in both permanent and interim appointments over 2015.
 We have seen significant movement as candidates look for new challenges and a step up in their career. Marketing leaders and talent management had to look carefully at succession planning and retention as we headed towards the end of the year. This has enhanced the relationship between in-house recruitment teams and agency partners.
The growing confidence in the employment market coupled with candidates realising the value of their skills experience has had a major impact on salaries and with what our clients are prepared to offer to secure the right skills and people for their teams. This doesn’t mean that money is everything; candidates are considering a number of factors before they accept an offer, from the very basics like how a process has been managed through to the opportunity to meet the team they will be joining. 
This means the hiring process has become all important in order to secure the best candidates and to protect against buy-back.

Public Sector

Overall 2015 was a very interesting year for the public sector. During the first half of the year there were several organisations that were going through restructures and understandably there was an increase in internal communications and change management roles. The majority of these positions were at a mid to senior level as they involved someone who could build strong relationships with a diverse group of internal stakeholders, many of whom were challenging, of a senior position in the organisation and resistant to change.

NHS trusts move to bolster media teams

In the public sector, particularly in the NHS, there was a huge increase in the number of media positions filled across the sector. Several trusts were under pressure to ensure that patient safety and quality of service was at an all time high and that this was communicated properly. Many organisations were constantly on the back foot, dealing with reactive communications within their media team. Any media officers with experience in crisis communications and issue management were in particularly high demand. Towards the end of the year we have seen many health organisations focusing on GP communications and taking steps to ensure that external stakeholder engagement was drastically improved. Many candidates in the sector, recognising this trend, have been looking to gain experience in this niche skill.

Financial Services

Top candidates in high demand
We talk a lot about the ‘candidate driven market’ and 2015 exemplified this. Across financial services (FS) candidate trends remained much the same, with top candidates regularly having multiple offers on the table and some clients losing out due to slow processes. Having said this, more and more clients are beginning to become flexible on interview scheduling when they see a candidate they like. However, FS clients are in no rush to pick any candidate; value added is the main concern and takes priority over head count. For some very strong candidates firms may even look to create positions in order to get people on board. It is important to note that without the framework in place to support the new role, these appointments have mixed results.
Candidate buy-back remains an issue, although salary increases offered to top candidates makes it harder for companies to hold onto current staff. Those companies often make promises they cannot keep and candidates are eventually moving on a few months down the line anyway. 
Key roles that remain in demand include good quality product managers, with the most candidate short area being in the sub £55,000 range. Also in demand are strong CRM candidates in the £45,000 range. Both of these candidate shortages are the result of a shortage of active candidates rather than down to a large number of available roles.
For more generalists marketing and communication roles clients have become slightly more focused on the quality of the person that they are interviewing and less so on elements of relevant experience. If they feel that an individual will add a lot of value/commercial awareness and will fit in well with workplace values they will look beyond some holes in experience and skills. 
Lack of FS experience no longer a barrier
More generally speaking, in FS, sector experience remains a basic requirement for a lot of employers. However in Financial Technology (FinTech) and particularly B2C focused companies, FS experience may not be a factor at all. FinTech clients are good at getting candidates to ‘buy in’ to what they are trying to achieve, often by expressing the purpose of a role and what impact it is going to have on the business. The idea of hiring someone based on their fit is one which has short and long term benefits. Some hiring managers underestimate this and should think more about what they can offer a candidate beyond the basic package.
Across all sectors clients who sell their business win out
Candidates are continuing to experience a significant gap between those companies who take the time to sell their business to them, as oppose to those who operate an interview as a one-way process. The more a candidate feels they understand a business and the team, the more likely that there will be a good fit between the business and the new employee. This doesn’t necessarily mean a client who operates an open, inclusive process will always get an easier acceptance of an offer, although this heightens the chances of a positive outcome. It can also mean that a candidate has the opportunity to express any doubts about the role, which should be considered a good thing. Airing concerns early and in an open manner means they are more easily addressed, while this may also highlight that the match between candidate and business is not right, avoiding the risk of making the wrong hire.
For us the best way to overcome the challenges facing hiring managers remains reasonable simple. We endeavour to understand both our clients and candidates from the start. Meeting people and keeping on top of progress is key; as is learning from the past and using this experience to further improve processes. By doing this consistently and challenging ourselves to ensure that we have done everything we can to place the right candidate with the right client, we stay ahead of the competition and retain our success rates.
For a confidential discussion about recruitment in your sector or about a potential career move contact your local Michael Page Marketing team.