THE TALENT REPORT: Marketers reveal the big issues with talent recruitment and retention

Is marketing facing a talent crisis, and should brands be doing more to attract gifted recruits to the industry? Marketing teamed up with recruiter Major Players to find out what the UK's top marketers really think.

Finding the right candidate: brands must try harder
Finding the right candidate: brands must try harder

None of the UK's leading brands would sit back and expect customers to come to them, but many, it seems, are happy to do just that when it comes to attracting marketers.

According to the Marketing and Major Players' talent survey, 43% of brands admit they fail to attract the right candidates.

Becky Gloyne, global talent acquisition manager at Nokia, says that today's recruitment landscape requires a more pro-active approach. "The war for top talent is increasingly competitive, and relying on fresh ways to source talent is crucial," she adds.

Certainly, throughout the survey, marketers expressed frustration over their inability to attract talent.

Sarah Owens, managing director of Direct Recruitment, says that while there is a lot of noise about recruitment on social media, good recruitment ultimately comes down to whether a candidate can do the job, and possession of the right skills.

"A lot of clients are looking for social media, planning and data skills, but they are still looking for core communication capabilities, which you can't see on a LinkedIn profile alone," she adds.

Despite ongoing concerns over the economy, there is a growing number of roles that brands are struggling to fill.

Top of the list were marketing director posts, with 22% of respondents citing this position as the hardest to fill. With this in mind, should brands be intensifying their recruitment drives?

Jimmy Ingram, head of marketing recruitment at Major Players, contends that brands need to raise their game, across their HR teams, networks and recruiters.

"Candidates are diligent when it comes to deciding whether to move, and brands need to be clear about promoting what opportunities are available to them," he saya.

While recruiters report that confidence about the market has returned - the prevailing attitude is described by Ingram as "cautiously bullish" – the survey revealed that brands are turning to interns to fill the gaps in their graduate-recruitment programmes.

As one respondent noted: "We have no formal grad-recruitment scheme, but we do have regular internships, which are often filled by graduates."

In an era when, according to consultancy McKinsey, "we are all marketers now", a continued disjuncture between HR and marketing revealed in the survey is problematic, given how central the brand is to both functions.

An absence of talent management, combined with the lack of clarity over who takes primary responsibility for talent, has stifled development.

In the words of Gloyne: "I wouldn't say there is a crisis in talent, but if you sit still, the talent won't simply come to you."

35% of graduates coming into marketing have a specialist marketing qualification as well as a primary degree

The Marketing/Major Players 2011 Talent Survey was carried out in September across senior UK marketers. 48% of the respondents were male, 52% female.