Local Search Marketing Talent Shortage

This week we’d like to welcome our guest blogger Antonio Ciccia, Founder/Director of Club Digital Recruitment. He’s giving some insight into the current situation involving the shortage of talent in the search marketing industry and how you can overcome the challenges of finding the perfect search people for your brand.

Welcome to Antonio!

Search Marketing has grown enormously over the past few years in Australia, brands have embraced the power of search and the incredible results that can be effectively delivered from various channels and strategies. Paid Search (aka Pay Per Click or PPC) in particular is currently dominating the market overall, however Organic Search (aka Search Engine Optimisation or SEO) is gaining momentum fast due to increased competition via Paid Search resulting in higher PPC costs.

Agencies with a developed search offering and established client base, are growing considerably year on year due to the fact that more marketing budget is being pushed into search due to the highly measurable nature of this valuable marketing channel. Some internet marketing agencies are almost doubling in employee numbers year on year. Because of this heavy growth, there is a talent shortage for skilled internet marketing specialists in PPC and SEO which is also increasing year on year as the industry is.

So where do organisations find talent in a talent short market?

While there is some amazing talent in Australia, the simple answer when all of our local talent has been snapped up, is overseas – in particular the UK and US due to their market maturity.

When the locals are hard to find, internet marketing agencies and brands need to think outside the box and look at some alternatives. Options include hiring graduates and incorporating an in-depth training platform to get these candidates up to speed (however this is currently rare).

The only other alternative is to look overseas to more mature markets such as the UK and US. The good thing is that the entire interview process can be done remotely these days thanks to technology. And Australia is snapping up some exceptional internet marketing specialists from these countries fairly easily.

If companies are not engaging with overseas talent, they will inevitably struggle with managing search marketing workloads due to the local talent-short market. This could result in increased workload to existing employees, which may not be sustainable, and could lead to an increase in staff turnover.

Antonio additionally conducted an assessment to understand the current staff turnover rates for the search marketing industry in Australia. 

Data was collected from a total of 14 companies (agency side) in the Australian Search Marketing industry over the past 2 financial years (09/10 & 10/11).

Staff turnover for 09/10 financial year and the 10/11 financial year was on average 31% and 27% respectively. Staff turnover for FirstClick Consulting for both periods was 10%.


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