Why Australia’s most in-demand social media jobs are being sourced from overseas

With social media skills in high demand, why aren't Aussie candidates making the grade? Pippa McMahon looks at the skills spectrum required to secure the top jobs, in this guest post.

Having moved to beautiful Sydney from the UK, I see a lot of similarities within the digital recruitment spectrum – big corporates and small agencies looking for experienced digital talent who can work with them to grow their tech offering.pippa-mcmahon

But one thing that is different is that the field is so much smaller – in terms of actual numbers, there are fewer companies and candidates in this space.

And this has a direct impact on what clients are looking for – in many instances they don’t have the resources to take on board a team of specialists but instead need someone with a broad spectrum of skills.

The area I’ve seen this in the most is in an emerging demand for candidates who demonstrate excellent social media and content skills and experience – as these two areas of expertise become interchangeable.

It’s no longer enough just to be able to schedule social media, you need to be able to create the content too.

I’m increasingly being approached by clients looking for a gun who can do everything from social media strategy, analytics, paid and content creation, experience of tools such as Final Cut Pro (video editing), Indesign and Photoshop.

They want people to be part of a ‘hub’ team, working across a broader range of work, so they can access this bank of knowledge and are not limited to one individual for each stream. When social media first entered the business world, it was about having a profile on LinkedIn, or dipping your toe into Facebook.

The recent Sensis Social Media Report found that 50% of social media users in Australia check social networks daily, with over 25% checking in more than five times per day.job-interview

Business participation on social media is growing with 48% of SMBs (31% last year) and 79% of large businesses (56% last year) having a presence on social.

It’s not going away – and businesses which remain ahead of the curve, exploiting the ways new technology can increase engagement with potential customers will be the ones that fight off the competition.

That is why it’s so important to recruit, retain and nurture the individuals who are able to cross multiple disciplines within the social media and content umbrellas. In the past, a content or copywriting agency would be appointed to develop engaging and authentic narratives to accompany a story.

But now, in fast-moving environments with pressured budgets, brands want to do this quickly, in-house, and that’s why those who can create content that maximises the customer journey and experience through multiple platforms whilst ensuring a consistent tone of voice are in high demand.

Those that can communicate the same brand message through web, social media, editorial and above the line advertising are going to be increasingly desirable.

Appointing a suite of agencies to manage media planning, PR, social media and other marketing disciplines, is no longer viable – even to large corporations, and that’s why those that have a broad range of skills here in Australia are setting themselves up for a bright future.

I’m anticipating an increase in ‘social manager’ as a job title, encompassing a plethora of these ‘new’ skills, and would encourage both candidates and clients to embrace this terminology.

That person who has had exposure to a range of systems including analytics tools, CMS systems, and creative software such as InDesign and Photoshop, as well as in turn having a strong understanding of the paid and digital media space and ability to write compelling copy is in a great position for future employment.

In addition, they need to demonstrate a creative leaning, a good head for numbers, top-notch account management skills, commercial savvy and an entrepreneurial outlook. Sounds too good to be true?

Well, I’d be lying if I said they are 10 a penny. The pool in Australia is pretty small, and unfortunately, in many instances we have to look further afield to sponsor international professionals with these skills.

Deloitte’s recent Digital Pulse Survey forecasted a highly ambitious recommendation of an additional 695,000 ICT workers in Australia by 2020 to meet demand within the digital and tech sectors.

A number of initiatives – such as plans for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research to create a comprehensive framework for addressing the digital gap for the wider economy – will help to plug this gap.

However, whilst the number of locals who meet the ‘social manager’ skills-set are few and far between, they do exist, and I’m noticing the landscape is beginning to change.

I’m anticipating that 2017 will be even more exciting, as more brands – not just in the creative world, but in the corporate sector – look to broaden their horizons and look for skilled social managers, rather than investing huge sums into numerous agencies.

Social commerce is expanding at a rapid rate, with retailers looking to capitalise through all the major platforms, and monetise their user-base.

Paid social advertising will increase and become more targeted – Facebook is still the most popular social site in Australia, and savvy brands are exploiting it, while the changes happening to Instagram are worth monitoring.

Video is also set to explode – incorporating a video will increase email click-through rate by up to 300% (Forrester Research), so candidates that can utilise this are on to a winner.

I can’t wait to see the rise of the social manager, and for companies to understand the value of taking on board the person who demonstrates this suite of skills, and the direct impact they will have on the bottom line.

Pippa McMahon is a senior digital consultant at Digital Gurus (Sydney)


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