As organisations face the upheaval brought about by the pandemic and a rapidly evolving business landscape, marketing leaders are taking the opportunity to redefine and strengthen their brand.

According to the Michael Page 2022 Marketing State of Play report, more than half of leaders participating in the study indicated brand development and brand purpose is one of their top three priorities to tackle over the year ahead.

However, for many leaders, implementing marketing and branding initiatives is an ongoing challenge, with 13% citing finding and attracting the right talent as a key obstacle.

With the race for talent heating up, we’re taking a closer look at the current skills gap and what marketing decision-makers can do to upskill, reskill and attract the right people.

A growing marketing skill gap

As marketing and digital functions pivot their efforts to focus on growth and transformation,

strategic, commercial and data literacy skills are highly sought-after, but in short supply.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 2022 Marketing State of Play report reveals the biggest technical skill and knowledge gaps exist in these areas:

Technical skill or area of knowledge

Percentage of respondents citing this as a key gap

Data & analytics


Commercial acumen


Marketing technology


Strategic planning


CX design


Measuring performance/outcomes


Digital marketing channel management




Brand strategy & management




Content development


In terms of soft skills, the data shows a similar story. Marketing teams need to work cross-functionally to drive change but are struggling to do so, with the top two skill gaps being the ability to manage up and across the organisation, and the need to influence and negotiate.

Soft skill

Percentage of respondents citing this as a key gap

Managing up & across the organisation


Influencing & negotiation


Time management & prioritisation


Critical thinking & problem solving


Planning & project management








Adaptability & flexibility


Emotional intelligence


Closing the marketing gap

At a time where skilled talent is in short supply and the business landscape is rapidly evolving, marketing decision-makers need to be strategic in their employee development and recruitment efforts. However, many are not seizing the opportunity to shore up their teams’ skills.

The 2022 Marketing State of Play report reveals that nearly four in 10 teams do not currently have a dedicated training and development budget in place, despite the identified significant gap in skills.

In addition, of those with a training and development budget allocated, 41% are investing $1,000 or less per team member. This lack of investment isn’t just common amongst smaller companies, with the report finding that of those without a training and development budget, 55% have a turnover above $50m and 34% have a turnover above $100m.

The key takeaway is that marketing leaders who commit to and invest in upskilling and reskilling their existing employees, as well as recruiting quality talent, stand to benefit from high-performing teams with the capability to develop a future-proof, market-leading brand.

Download your copy of the Marketing State of Play 2022 report and find out more about Michael Page’s marketing recruitment expertise.

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