Digital Disruption

The Marketing sector remains one of the most vibrant for recruiters and there have been a number of interesting developments over the first half of this year, particularly with the vertical-wide focus on digital disruption.  


Nowhere is this more acutely obvious than the Financial Services industry in Scotland; large companies, in the past, have either struggled to be agile enough to compete with fintech companies and start-ups, or have remained relatively oblivious to the digital headwinds at the time. The industry has changed markedly and a couple of noticeable trends, from a recruitment perspective, have emerged recently:  

1.       Financial Services are looking to compete with other industries. More and more, we’re speaking with hiring managers who are building products and campaigns designed to compete with standards achieved in other markets in terms of customer engagement. From banking apps vying with the start-ups in the industry, to digital payment products designed to compete with the largest companies across the globe, the focus is not so much on being ‘best-in-class’ as it is being world-class. Increasingly we have found ourselves tasked with looking at talent pools outside of Financial Services; there’s a huge appetite for taking on individuals from within sectors considered more agile, with the tech and fintech industries being notable mentions.

2.       Financial Services companies are building relationships with disruptive start-ups instead of ‘butting heads’. Historically considered a conflict of interest, the recent outlook has been to deepen inter-industry bonds to uncover learning points from both sides. We’ve noticed a huge influx of cross-industry digital events, open-discussions and business breakfast meetings, often led by the larger companies, to enhance these ties (which can only be considered as a positive!). We believe that this has further galvanised the trend to look at different industries for these professionals.  

Fortunately Scotland possesses a flourishing technology sector and some excellent business incubators for start-ups. With the likes of CodeBase and Entrepreneurial Spark in Edinburgh continuing to help produce high quality start-ups and educational facilities, this trend should only continue. We are, however, still in a slight talent deficit in Scotland within hot-spots such as UX and Product Innovation, and our clients have increasingly looked towards areas in resource-decline, the more traditional marketing verticals notably, to up-skill talent for a sideways move. We are more frequently looking at international professionals to secure the right talent for our clients.

It’s not all about the Financial Services and digital industries in Scotland though!  

Drinks and FMCG

One of the areas we’ve been excited about this month is the drinks/FMCG space where a number of organisations have been at the start of the process of undertaking some large projects, including project launches, rebrands and campaigns, and are thus driving aggressive growth in the appearance of both sales and marketing positions. Whilst these positions are relatively weighted to traditional brand management roles, we are experiencing a pattern of growth in analytics teams within these businesses (particularly around marketing campaign analytics) and a surge in innovation roles, from improving processes to new ways of blending; in fact there’s been a distinct blurring of the lines between innovation and brand roles over the past quarter.  

Disruption and innovation remain key themes across most sectors in Scotland, which only mirrors the speed of change in customer interaction, a key trend which we believe will continue to drive growth within the marketing vertical in Scotland.  

David Smith is Senior Consultant in Marketing

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