Demand for digital workers grows

Although headlines may currently be hogged by the worsening of the UK's economic climate, the demand for skilled professionals in the digital industry is growing.

However, increased demand leads to itchy feet - and with opportunities to move currently running high, employers need to pay attention to their retention strategies to ensure the loyalty of their workforce.

The demand for skilled digital specialists is on the up, according to a survey conducted by Aquent, the leading global staffing firm. In the Aquent Orange Book, an industry document containing salary surveys and analysis of hiring trends, the firm details this growth in demand - highlighting the comparison to trends in other media.

Their survey has revealed high rates of staff turnover and short lengths of employment in London's digital sectors - a likely result of increased demand.

Aquent European Managing Director, Stefan Ciecierski, says: "With revenue growth slowing, and in some cases, shrinking, CEOs across the globe are looking for measurable ROI - digital provides a far greater ability to measure the return on marketing dollars spent.

"Ironically, the transfer of marketing spend to digital is exacerbated by the tougher economic climate, because for most companies its cheaper or more cost effective to spend on digital than it is on print, TV or outdoor advertising.

"Advertisers are moving to digital, and the agencies are enjoying a greater slice of the action, which in turn, is driving digital staff demand."

Staff turnover rates of 20 percent and greater were recorded for a quarter of digital and marketing staff in digital agencies.

Ciecierski says: "These high rates of employee churn have an obvious raw cost to the business, but at a deeper level, they will harm the competitiveness of many agencies at a time where securing market share is increasingly critical."

"Many owners and managers in the digital sector will need to revisit what they are doing to attract and retain staff."

The Aquent Orange Book highlights some approaches to this issue, citing flexible arrangements for employees (options to work from home, shared and part-time employment, and so on) as corresponding to a more committed and loyal workforce.

"Employers committed to talent acquisition and retention will also be well advised to beef up their internal training programmes and to make employees far more aware of the career development potential in the organisation," says Ciecierski.

"The Aquent research now provides empirical data to show that money and other traditional drivers of job satisfaction are simply not enough alone to attract and retain key employees anymore."

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