A Changing Employment Landscape
Let’s not beat around the bush; it’s brutal in the job market right now as COVID-19 rages through the U.S. In December 2020 — the latest data available — unemployment rose 6.7%, virtually doubling from the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s 10.7 million people out of work. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s like the entire population of Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming are unemployed all at once.
COVID-19 has claimed over 2.2 million management, professional, and related occupations of which marketers — like you and I — make up a part of this employment demographic. There’s much competition amongst marketers, more so now than ever before. As marketers, we know that increased supply drives prices down and intensifies competition; and currently, there is an excess supply of marketers, making landing a new gig very competitive.
It is undoubtedly an employer’s market. Marketing salaries are lower than before the pandemic due to the influx of marketers’ supply and low demand in the job market. I spoke with a hiring manager for an Irvine, California based online finance firm who claimed to have sifted through 200 resumes for a single online marketing manager position. He stated that he had more than enough candidates to select from and had difficulty picking the best candidate.
The 200 resumes were a small number of applicants than other industry professionals who had received hundreds more. Remote work for marketers can see up to 500 applicants for a single marketing position.
Where does that leave the rest of us marketers when looking for our next career move? Out in the cold, if we do not adapt and compete for the few jobs available. After all, we’re marketers, and we should be competitive and poised to out-think our competition. But do we have the skills a post-COVID-19 job market requires from marketers to thrive?
After my team and I lost our jobs due to a reverse merger acquisition and downsizing due to COVID-19, I found myself on the job market for the first time in 20-years. I had always moved on to the next marketing position with the help of contacts. Unfortunately, those contacts are either not hiring or in the same boat as me, unemployed.
I was humbled when my credentials were not enough to walk into a new position but that I had to compete for my next career role. I realized that I needed to adapt to a changing environment and possibly a permanent change in how business gets conducted for some time in the future.
Four Post COVID-19 Skills Marketers Need To Help Them Thrive
Through research, conversations with human resource professionals, and my 20-years of hiring marketing team members, I realized that marketers — and most other professionals — will require specific skills to adapt — or improve upon — to excel in the post-COVID business world.
- Technological skills
- Enriched Cognition
- Adaptability and Resilience
- Reliability and Integrity
COVID-19 has changed the way people do business. With many employees working from home, the virus added new challenges to connecting and working remotely.
The new remote working business model requires employees to be better equipped to manage and troubleshoot technological challenges from their homes or remote locations. Possessing better digital skills will help the worker stay connected with peers, clients, vendors, and other stakeholders they engage with for business.
Improving digital skill knowledge in advanced analytics software, marketing automation, data collection, and data visualization could help marketers work more efficiently while working remotely and without larger teams, as firms scale back their workforces depending more on automation and fewer employees.
The new working environment poses new operational challenges for firms. Remote work and increased competition require marketers to think creatively and sidestep what was once the norm. Marketers need to demonstrate their skills in an increasingly autonomous working environment with the ability to solve challenges remotely.
Increasing one’s fluid intelligence — the capacity to learn new information — is a matter of training more on new concepts seeking novelty, and challenging themselves by thinking outside of one’s comfort zone or doing things the hard way.
Adaptability and Resilience
Marketing has changed with new technological advancements, and marketers need to adjust to how they once connected with consumers. Marketers need to embrace more digital communication channels than they did before COVID-19. Other marketing technology tools marketers need to acclimate to are marketing automation platforms and analytical tools to serve their customers better and streamline their processes for greater effectiveness.
Marketers also need to build resiliency through emotional intelligence, tolerance, and time management. As companies shift toward remote work, their job pool expands across borders. Simultaneously, as the firms move to more online business models, they raise their reach globally. Marketers that express increased emotional intelligence levels and tolerance will do better in the post-COVID-19 global market.
Equally as important for marketers post COVID-19 are time management skills. Marketers working autonomously and from home need to account for their time more than when working at a physical work location. Being better stewards of their time and tasks will help them succeed in the new business paradigm.
Reliability and Integrity
It is not to say that marketers are not reliable or lack integrity; however, as firms move away from traditional brick-and-mortar work locations to remote working, marketers are left to their own devices. More so now than ever, integrity and reliability are crucial to building trust between marketers and their supervisors, teams, and customers. Remote work can often tempt employees to stray from their daily job tasks. Working remotely requires self-discipline, reliability, and integrity. Marketers that excel in all three areas will have tremendous success amongst their supervisors and peers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives and how we work and conduct business. If there is a return to the way things were, it will not be for a long time. In the interim, business professionals, specifically, marketers need to make changes to how they function professionally.
Four skills to set marketers on a path to success in post-COVID-19 include:
- Embracing new technological skills
- Increasing their cognitive ability
- Adapting and showing resilience
- Being more reliable and increased integrity
As marketers work autonomously, the four skills become increasingly important. Will things return the way they were? It is yet for certain. But one thing is for sure, business owners are adapting and will continue to embrace the new way of doing business in a scaled-back, remote world.