Brands Battle In The 'War For Talent'

Job searches for digital native giants Amazon, Facebook and Google trump long-standing favorites, including Nike.

That’s according to the report “The War For Talent 2016: Organizing For Success in the Digital Age,” produced by L2 Inc.

As marketers transform their organizations for the digital age, building a skilled workforce can be an uphill battle. Brands must compete with major technology companies, agencies, and each other to recruit and retain top digital talent.

Half of marketers do 75% or more of digital work in-house. 

While priorities multiply, vast digital skills gaps prevail. Over half of client-side marketers say their organizations have talent gaps in areas including e-commerce, technology, and user experience. And only 3% believe technologies are aligned across organizations. Marketers today are tasked with preparing their organizations for the biggest shift (such as analog to digital) in the consumer and retail world in the last 50 years. 



There has been an explosion in the number of individuals at large consumer enterprises with “digital” or “e-commerce” in their titles. The number of Chief Digital Officers rose 237% in just one year, from 965 in 2015 to 3,255 in 2016.

In the last year, Procter & Gamble is up 19%, L’Oréal is up 58% and Unilever is up a staggering 70%. This demonstrates the reach of “digital” beyond marketing, e-commerce, and communications to effectively every function. There has also been an increasing number of individuals with “omnichannel” in their titles. In the last year, L’Oréal and Estée Lauder have both added nine omnichannel titles to their roster and Unilever has added 10 — up from just two in 2015.

According to the study, "the winners will be those brands that build out content ecosystems with the sophistication and agility necessary to leverage targeting and personalization technology.”

“Amazon masters this — sending out highly targeted emails at incredible scale — a content model just not feasible with the current structure of most organizations,” says Ariel Meranus, an L2 research associate. 

It’s clear that brand, specifically a reputation as a tech innovator, makes a company attractive to top tech talent.

“It’s no surprise that top digital talent finds these companies attractive. They have revolutionized the workplace environment — Google, who makes massive investments in human capital (compensation, on-site food, training) has been ranked number one on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for” seven times,” Meranus says. 

As a result, digital talent tends to flow between digitally native technology companies while brands look on from the sidelines.

“While it is notoriously difficult for brands to recruit from digitally native companies, there has been a pattern of brands successfully doing so by offering positions on the senior leadership team,” Meranus tells Marketing Daily. “The war for talent has re-shaped the allocation of human capital across industry. The quarterback and prom queen of yesterday find themselves sitting alone at the reunion as people line up to get a selfie with the captain of the chess team who started a SAAS firm."

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