IAB Australia report confirms talent shortage as wages surge

The inaugural Industry Talent Report from the IAB Australia has confirmed growing discussions about the talent shortage across the national advertising industry.

The report has found that job vacancy rates for digital advertising and ad tech industry roles have more than doubled in the last 12 months, to reach 9.8%, this being driven by several contributing factors, including strong market growth, changes in visa rules, lack of incoming talent due to border restrictions, and the entry of new large global organisations into the local market.

Mumbrella has covered the talent crisis in recent months, including a poll earlier this week, following an in depth analysis of the conditions leading to the current market shortage, in which director of content, Damian Francis suggested this has been years in the making.

In August, speaking to Mumbrella, Belinda Lodge, CEO and founder of headhunting firm iPopulate said that closed borders, changed labour market testing laws, and an already shallow talent pool is “condensing into what we’re now seeing, which is a war on talent”.

IAB CEO Gai Le Roy


According to the report, the entry of global companies into the local market has created a “critical squeeze” on talent availability and an increase in the cost of talent.

Today’s report also found that businesses that have successfully hired in recent months have faced an average of a 10-20% salary increase, with 28% of organisations having “increased offshoring of local work to help manage staff shortages”.

An increase in poaching, decreasing productivity and slowing growth has led to organisations reporting that further investments in the Australian market are under review.

IAB Australia CEO, Gai Le Roy said: “The demand for talent in the Australia digital advertising market is the highest that I have seen in my 20 plus years in the industry. Although we are seeing higher job vacancy rates globally in our industry, the problem and ongoing risk for the Australian market has been heightened with longer border restrictions as well as changes to visa rules that have had a major impact on any overseas talent entering the market. We are already seeing global organisations looking at decreasing their investment in the Australian market due to talent shortages and costs.”

As reported in August, a former adland CEO told Mumbrella that they were seeing instances of salaries rising from $60,000 to $95,000 in one go, and another of $105,000 to $140,000, “none of them worth more than they are getting paid now”, estimating the past 18 months as seeing a 30% minimum inflation on staffing costs.

Lodge’s comments at the time were backed up by today’s report, as she said that as a headhunter, there is a current lack of talent in the $75,000-$150,000 salary range, in mid-weight skilled roles, and this is resulting in agencies overpaying for those potentially under-qualified, in order to prize them away and get them through the door.

The IAB said that it has now established a Talent and Careers Working Group to expand on its existing work in developing industry talent including a mentorship program, education, community events and promotion of job openings. This includes developing initiatives to encourage a broader range of people to move towards the digital advertising sector.

The Group is made up of HR executives, commercial leaders, and senior executives from the advertising industry organisations including Playground XYZ, Yahoo, Index Exchange, The Trade Desk, PubMatic, Dentsu, InMobi, LinkedIn and Quantcast.

Further findings from the report found that while there is an even representation across commercial roles, from a gender standpoint, almost three quarters of commercial management senior leadership roles are occupied by men. Further, nine in ten technical and engineering roles are held by men, and seven in ten marketing roles are held by women.

The most competitive sector of the recruiting market currently was identified as people with three to five years of experience, which often results in organisations opting for candidates with less experience, factoring in costs for internal training and room for upskilling.


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