I’ve noticed an alarming trend lately—a lack of talent at the mid- to senior-levels in the social media and digital arenas. There seems to be a significant amount of young social media talent (22-30 year olds), but very few social/digital talent between the ages of 30-45.
I get emails from friends and colleagues around the Minneapolis-St. Paul, where I live and work, and they are looking for the same person: That mid- to senior-level digital/social media counselor/director with deep experience in marketing and some experience in digital and social media.
Except they don’t exist—at least not in big numbers. And that has huge consequences for corporate America. Here’s why:
Kids may be leading your social media work
This isn’t true across the board, but more often than not, the digital and social media teams I’ve seen at big and small agencies are built with junior-level talent. I’m not judging these younger pros. In many cases, these junior-level folks are smart as can be. But they are still kids with a handful of years of experience.
A lack of social strategic thinking
I’m not saying the junior-level folks are incapable of strategic thought. Like I said, they’re smart as hell in some cases, but they’re also inexperienced. Hey, we were all
inexperienced at one point. That has a downside, though. We need more mid- to senior-level folks who understand business and marketing strategy and can integrate digital strategy seamlessly.
As I think about all the requests I’ve received locally of late, there just aren’t that many people around (that aren’t happily employed) who can do that in the 30-45 year-old age range—and this is in Minneapolis-St. Paul, a market where we pride ourselves on creative and digital talent. If that’s the case here, what’s the pipeline look like in other, perhaps less creative-driven cities.
The wrong people in the wrong roles
When companies can’t find ideal fits for these senior social media and digital roles, they turn to the next best thing—people with some of the skills, but not all. Right now, that’s the only option they have because of this talent hole. The supply just isn’t keeping up with the demand. The long-term effect is that you get people in senior-level roles within organizations that have no business being in those roles.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.
Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. He blogs at Communications Conversations, where a version of this article originally appeared.