Digital and social media skills among 2011 must-haves: IQ Partners

February 15, 2011  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

IQ Partners, a Toronto recruitment firm specializing in the marketing communications sector, predicts continued demand for digital and social media talent and an ongoing struggle to attract and retain junior talent among its 2011 hiring trends.

IQ Partners founder/managing partner Bruce Powell stressed that the trends list is based solely on a “qualitative assessment” of the marketing communications sector based on 15 years of work in the area.

Powell said the dearth of junior talent—described as people with 3 to 10 years experience—is a significant issue for marketing communications firms. It is manifesting itself in skyrocketing salaries as companies compete to attain their services, and increasingly dissatisfied senior employees.

“We’ve got a number of agency clients where the account managers and supervisors are making almost as much as the account directors,” said Powell. “It creates problems because all of a sudden you’ve got account directors that have juniors reporting to them that are making almost as much and don’t have nearly the years of experience or the skills.”

Powell said the lack of qualified junior people has also resulted in a shortage of training, with the people most successful in the workplace relying on self-training or just intuitively able to operate above their traditional level of proficiency.

“The continued evolution of the junior talent is going to be a long-term problem,” said Powell. “There’s certain problems we have solutions for… but there’s no predictable solution for the drought of junior talent. There’s not much you can do now except go along for the ride and slowly work within the changes.”

IQ Partners also predicted increased demand for IT professionals, which Powell said is evolving into “hybrid IT” because of an increased crossover of IT and business skill sets.

“Business people aren’t becoming programmers, but they’re becoming extraordinarily savvy in the use of technological tools,” said Powell. “A lot of people in CRM and database and anything digital and online are starting to really blur the lines as to where IT stops and where the business management, client management part starts.”

IQ Partners also predicted that companies will continue to place an emphasis on so-called soft skills as opposed to hard skills, with companies increasingly hiring more for cultural fit.

“Companies have realized that they’re made up of a lot of different people with different skill sets, but when you scratch the surface you can find common values,” said Powell, outlining traits like how they treat others, their work ethic and an ability to keep work in perspective,” said Powell. “It seems that companies are starting to get more serious about how to identify and evaluate the right people for their organization.”

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