Web Talent Shortage, Industry Faces Slowdown

Where have all the cowboys gone? It's been reported before, but if FT says it's so, it must be a crisis. There's a dearth of experienced talent in Web advertising, a reality that could cool the momentum of Internet ad growth. Ad agencies report a need for more workers who understand how to create, sell and measure Internet ads. The problem, much like the late 1990s, is that there is no ready pool of experienced staff because online media changes at such a rapid pace. The explosion of consumer-generated media is a good example--social networking and video-sharing sites were little more than something to watch last year. Now, CGM is a crucial consideration point for advertisers and media companies alike. However, on both sides of the equation, advertisers and media companies are trying to figure out their new relationship. The need for pioneering individuals who understand the business and have insight as to where it might be headed is great. So are the potential rewards. In the U.S., Web spending is supposed to reach $16 billion this year--up from $12 billion last year, according to Merrill Lynch. That's still peanuts when placed in the context of ad spending overall, which is expected to hit $292 billion in the U.S. this year alone. There will still be many years of Internet ad growth, but that growth would be helped by a greater supply of talent.
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