talent shortage

Hottest Jobs 2016: Marketing and Web in Top Ten

By Kristen Harris

CareerBuilder’s recently released List of Hottest Jobs for 2016 highlights shortages in the marketing/creative sector. Which means opportunity for both those in the field and anyone interested in joining it.

Of the 20 hottest jobs, Marketing Manager is #3, and Web Developer is #9. What exactly does this mean?

Long answer...the list is comprised of occupations where more ads were posted than people hired. It also includes other data to indicate that these are well-paying occupations, have seen healthy growth, and are expected to continue to be in demand.

Short answer...these are roles that companies need, want to secure the right person, and are willing to pay well to get them.

Companies are continuing to be more strategic in identifying the roles needed to push ahead of their competition. Marketing overall, and digital or online space in particular, is becoming a critical need for businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries. According to a study released by McKinley Marketing Partners, 81% of hiring managers plan to hire more or the same number of marketing professionals in 2016.

No longer just the territory of large brands or trend-focused business, even traditional industries like manufacturing and insurance are seeing marketing as important to their success.

Every company is realizing they need at least a basic marketing and digital plan. Many are expanding their focus way beyond the basics, creating online communities, robust interactive websites, and a strong social media voice.

The implications for creative talent should be relatively obvious. Our industry will continue to grow in size, importance, and impact. There is considerable opportunity for those with strong marketing and digital expertise.

If you have that expertise, great. Consider new opportunities, and go where you can make the greatest impact. If you don’t, start working to gain it. Do training, take a class, accept projects, create your own personal projects, do whatever it takes to get more current. And, once you get there, never stop learning.


Survey Says: Soft Skills Matter to Employers

By Kristen Harris

We’ve been hearing a lot about the “skills gap” lately, where employers have a tough time finding qualified candidates even as a sizeable number of unemployed people struggle to find jobs. Now the debate has moved on to look at “hard” and “soft” skills.

Hard skills are the specific manual or cognitive skills you need to do the job.

They’re a measurable ability to perform the task at hand in an excellent manner. This is what most of us learn in post-secondary education or a training program, and throughout our career as we continue to do our work. Sometimes these skills are learned on the job, through an apprenticeship or internship. If you’re a graphic designer it means you know how to use the right software, understand design principles, have a good sense of color and proportion, and so on. A writer knows how to find the right words to express the message, can edit their writing, knows punctuation and grammar guidelines, and other related skills.

Soft skills are less tangible. They are personality traits that you exhibit, no matter what job you’re doing.

Although some employers use personality tests to identify traits and tendencies, soft skills are often hard to measure. They’re really about how you approach your work and, just like hard skills, they can be learned. These are not innate abilities that some people are born with. All of these skills can be practiced and improved.

In a debate over whether which kind of skills matter more the answer is both.

It can be tough to get an opportunity without education, training or experience in your chosen field. But it’s also tough to get a position, and even harder to keep it, without well-developed social and personal abilities. Sometimes soft skills are what encourage an employer to give you a chance when your hard skills are less developed.

In a recent CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers and human resources professionals, they found that 77% of employers believe soft skills are just as important as hard skills.(1) In fact, sometimes having the right soft skills will convince an employer to take a chance on someone who needs to grow and improve. Coming out of college, that’s where we all are; we have some knowledge but little to no practical experience. Soft skills, or our “attitude,” are often what convince that first employer to give us a chance.

According to the CareerBuilder survey, here are the Top 10 soft skills companies say they’re looking for when hiring:

  1. Strong work ethic

  2. Dependability

  3. Positive attitude

  4. Self-motivated

  5. Team-oriented

  6. Organization (can manage multiple priorities)

  7. Works well under pressure

  8. Effective communicator

  9. Flexibility

  10. Confidence

Wow, that sounds like the kind of person I’d want to work with! How about you? Could you improve in any of these areas? We all have room for growth and improvement. Pick one and see how much better you can get just by giving it a little extra focus. These skills help us get the job, and succeed in it every day.

(1) Overwhelming Majority of Companies Say Soft Skills Are Just as Important as Hard Skills, According to a New CareerBuilder Survey, April 10, 2014