Interactive Advertising Bureau
21 November 2018

IAB Europe Press Release: IAB Europe publishes first edition of the Human Capital in the Digital Environment Report

Brussels, 21 November 2018 – IAB Europe has today published the inaugural edition of the Human Capital in the Digital Environment Report highlighting a series of findings which come to support the efforts of the industry to combat the skill gap and talent shortage currently affecting it.

The report drafted under the Education and Training Committee with support from the Research Committee, aims to identify the main challenges that both recruiters and candidates face when hiring or transitioning into digital marketing and communication, with a focus on the training needs and potential future priorities for education on digital topics. Prevalent throughout the report is also a clear incongruity between the perceptions of employers and candidates, ranging from the skills needed in the industry, to the abilities possessed and the salaries expected.

In terms of the actual topics that HR specialist and trainers in companies have identified as most pressing for potential candidates or existing staff, programmatic and analytics lead the field – 56% and 54%, respectively. Also of note are topics related to video advertising (43%), campaign planning (39%), emerging technologies (37%), cross-media (36%), and content marketing (35%). Least interesting as training topics for the respondents are DOOH, Digital Audio, and email marketing – 11.81%, 14.17%, and 14.96%, respectively.

Townsend Feehan, CEO, IAB Europe said, “The Human Capital in the Digital Environment 2018 Report is a solid first step towards building a valuable resource for the industry which will help identify areas of focus for the years ahead and priority challenges that need to be overcome in the bid to offset the skill gap in digital advertising.”

Another key area of concern identified by the report is the education system, which in many cases is not tailored to the digital age and fails to prepare young talent for the rigors and demands of the digital advertising industry, with some respondents marking this as one of the causes for the shortage of digital talent in the industry.

Neslihan Olcay, Chair of the IAB Europe Education & Training Committee and CEO of Wavemaker Turkey, commented: “The results of the survey show there is an acute shortage of skilled talents in the market, which is attributed by the respondents mainly to the education system that does not prepare students for the digital industry in the digital age. We hope the findings of this survey would inspire the development of new and future-proof educational programmes by the formal education institutions as well as by the corporations in our industry.”

One of the main discrepancies arises when candidates are invited to self-assess. Asked to rate their abilities in digital on a scale of 1 to 10, the average score of all respondents was on the high end of the scale - over 7. This, in an environment in which employers consistently indicate the inability of candidates to accurately evaluate their skills for the job they are applying to as one of the top hurdles in recruiting valuable talent.

There is hope, however, as both employers and employees are willing to invest in digital training in the coming years. 43% of employers taking part in this study expect their training budgets for staff to increase next year. 85% of candidates are willing to invest in themselves to bring their skills and abilities required by a career in digital up to speed.

Ewa Opach, Education and Certification Director, IAB Poland, stated: “The e-marketing industry has tremendous educational needs and is subject to the most dynamic changes, requiring constant updating of qualifications in order to preserve relevance. Candidates overestimate self-assessment of qualifications, which leads to overstated and unrealistic financial expectations. But there is a silver lining: both employers and employees are willing, at least declaratively, to amend the situation.”

Through the Education and Training Committee as well as all its other committees, work groups and task forces, IAB Europe will continue to take steps to support the training efforts of its members and industry as a whole in the pursuit of adequately prepared current and future generations of digital talent.

About IAB Europe
IAB Europe is the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising ecosystem. Its mission is to promote the development of this innovative sector and ensure its sustainability by shaping the regulatory environment, demonstrating the value digital advertising brings to Europe’s economy, to consumers and to the market, and developing and facilitating the uptake of harmonised business practices that take account of changing user expectations and enable digital brand advertising to scale in Europe.


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