Thoughts and insights into the current state of the marketing and communications job market

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all our lives, both personally and professionally. It has created uncertainty everywhere, and none more so than within the job market.

Here are a few thoughts and insights into the current state of the marketing and communications job market:

Investing in your marketing and communications

Marketing and communications have sometimes been overlooked by organisations who questioned the value and benefit it can bring to a strategy. The pandemic has brought marketing and communications to the forefront, demonstrating how vital it is to the sector. With face-to-face engagement off the cards for the foreseeable future, organisations are looking at different ways to engage with supporters, donors, members and other key stakeholders in this digital landscape.

Over the past 12 months, I have supported several organisations to recruit their first strategic marketing and communications role, as well as others who have recruited their first in-house digital role. Organisations have invested into marketing and communications, understanding the vital need to promote themselves and the work they do in an online capacity during this difficult period. This has not only opened up new roles, but also opportunities for organisations to grow and increase outreach and engagement with beneficiaries and donors.

Digital first approach

Digital has been present in our lives for some time, but the pandemic has accelerated its growth. We have seen huge shifts in the way charities deliver programmes and that requires the in-house expertise to lead this shift. One thing we do know is that it will not return to how it was before.


COVID-19 means more charities need to ‘do digital’, the expectation being that they must integrate digital into how they work and operate. However, candidates are often keen to understand what a particular organisation is looking to achieve through their digital output. Charities must ensure they are clear on their digital objectives, particularly sharing these in job descriptions and recruitment advertising.

How can charities best attract the talent they need? Having clear digital goals will increase the level of interest in a digital role. A clear objective, often as simple as driving more revenue or increasing brand recognition via digital, will make a role more appealing, as well as providing the steer to optimise your digital offering more efficiently.

People are not putting their career aspirations on hold

I entered this year believing that many candidates would hunker down and sit out the pandemic in their current roles due to an uncertain economic climate. I have found the opposite to be the case. People are looking to the future and planning career moves.

Marketing and communications professionals are still seeking to advance their skills and are looking for a new challenge. Offering a candidate something that will excite them and allow them to grow will go a long way to encouraging them to apply. Taking time to clearly articulate your goals as well as the development opportunities within a role will still prompt talented people to consider your vacancy.

Movement from private sector to third sector

COVID-19 has highlighted the invaluable contribution of the charity sector in society, bringing an increase in the number of private sector candidates looking to move into the third sector.

Although candidates from outside the sector may have gaps in the knowledge, they can bring a different perspective to your organisation. Challenge your thinking by inviting people with transferrable skills to your interviews as diversity of experience is a valuable asset for any organisation.

How search and headhunting can produce the goods

The number of applications received has grown drastically over the past 12 months, as the effects of furlough and redundancies were felt. A high number of applications can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse. A large volume of applications does not mean high quality and shortlisting for a role can be a time-consuming process which needs to be done properly. If you are concluding a recruitment campaign, ensure you leave yourself plenty of time for shortlisting.

We still find that the best candidates come from headhunting rather than advertising. The strongest candidates are often in a role and not actively seeking the next move. Search is time-consuming but produces fantastic results. Approaching candidates with a specific skillset will ensure you get the perfect person for a role.

Stand out in a competitive market

Competition for roles has always been high in marketing and communications, both from an employer and a candidate perspective, but the pandemic has increased this.

As many organisations look to increase their marketing capabilities, the competition for the top talent has increased. Your role must stand out in a crowded field. Taking a different, more personal approach to your recruitment is key.

Making yourself available for informal chats prior to shortlisting or interviews can support this, as well as allowing you to get to know the candidate. A positive candidate experience will increase not only their interest in the opportunity, but also allow you to explore their experience outside of a formal interview.

Are you looking to grow the marketing and communications provision within your organisation? Please contact Simon Callaghan to discuss how we can work with you to find the right people for your organisation: