40% of marketers believe they need more training – only a 1% rise since 2019

CIM presents a mixed picture on skills amid broad-based optimism

An overwhelming majority of marketers have expressed optimism in their collective ability to ensure that the industry emerges from the pandemic stronger and not weaker, despite lingering concern over a skills gap.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) suggests no less than nine in 10 marketers are optimistic about the role marketing will play in the UK economic recovery – up from 85% in 2019.

The broad-based positivity was derived from surveys and interviews conducted with 1,000 marketing professionals, with six in 10 of the 19% of marketers who were furloughed reporting that they now possess the requisite skills for success.

By contrast, when a similar question was asked in 2019, 87% of respondents admitted working with marketers who learned on the job with little in the way of formal training. This suggests that the sudden enforced downtime has been put to productive use as well as Netflix, leaving the profession in better shape to weather future headwinds.

Despite recent progress, 40% of respondents were not convinced they had the skills necessary to thrive in their role – a slight increase in insecurity from 2019 when 39% expressed similar fears.

CIM chief executive Chris Daly said: “The pandemic triggered redundancies across the marketing sector, forcing marketing leaders to outsource digital activities and focus on improving core activities such as brand, marketing strategy and communications. It’s not surprising that some of the more technical digital skillsets have decreased over the past year, but the wider picture remains positive.

“Covid-19 touched countless lives and livelihoods, and I believe that marketers will have a critical role in shaping an economy that works for both people and the planet.”

Throughout the pandemic, the CIM has documented the economic impact of Covid-19 on the marketing sector, a period in which 69% of agency staff and 59% of in-house teams reported reduced demand for their services.

In addition to the pandemic, marketers are having to juggle the rise of sustainability issues up the agenda, with 49% wary of association with ‘greenwashing’ campaigns.