14,000 open Social Media positions – no candidates

There are currently about 14,000 open positions for Social Media in all levels from Manager, Director to Vice President. However, companies search on average for three to six month to find the best matching candidate. Simply hired alone posts about 9,000 "Director Social Media" positions. But "Give it a try – just apply" doesn't work. On the other side of the fence are approximately 50,000 social media "experts" who feel good about taking the job – but not getting it.

What Takes So Long To Get The Right Candidate?

We asked hiring mangers and recruiters. We found out that recruiters are rarely in the game. To sum it up, one opinion that speaks for most others: "All they have are traditional senior managers who have no clue about social media. Most recruiter don't even know themselves." The biggest problem hireing managers have is the quality. We heard the same story over and over from people who obviously requested to be not named: "We don't want to hire some mid age wonnabe social media guy just because he or she has a bunch of twitter followers and can create a fan page." and to the contrary we hear "I'd love to hire some smart youngsters who live and breath social media. The only problem is to have them come up with a social media strategy for a larger company, when they have never seen a company from the inside".

Industry Perspective On Education Has Changed

Cap Gemini stated they hire 1,000 new consultants with social media background. But they also stated that they plan to let others go. Google announced internally to increase the bonus by 25% for successful social media engagement but also will decrease it if not. Not a single US company of the over 10,000 social media positions, nor Cap Gemini or Google mentioned to help candidates with the education. The industry perspective seem to have changed and education is simply expected. Only the largest companies like Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com or Dell actually funded the education at the Social Media Academy for their employees. Also European and Australian companies are more incline to finance the education of their team than in the US.

Social Media Career – Age Dependent?

Our data from the last two years show that a career in social media is very clearly not age dependent – but vastly dependent on business relevant education. The youngest students were below 30 and the oldest over 60. On average 20% of the Social Media Academy graduates get a job while in the class and 60% of those who had a job get promoted to a higher position or start their own business – completely independent of age.

Key Considerations For Social Media Career Planning

1) Businesses are rather selective with social media candidates compared to other positions. Primarily because the social media manager has a huge responsibility: Making sure customers are happy.

2) It appears that US businesses are rarely sponsoring education. It is pretty much expected that candidates are well educated.

3) Age dependency is a myth. It's hard enough to find a good candidates. People who are well verse with the media, are able to create a strategy and manage a team, (which may be youngsters), is more important than age.

Social Media Education and social media certification are paramount for a great career development




7 Replies to “14,000 open Social Media positions – no candidates”

  1. Axel, Your findings are as true for the U.S. as they are for Germany (even stronger). Being an early adopter of the web-age, practicing social media networking ever since 1995 as well on private basis, as on professional basis with BMW for over five years.
    A digital native (slightly out of the age range) and not fully entrenched only to the online-world, it makes it almost impossible to get a job in question – not even on a try-first basis.
    Amazing how stuck managerial thinking is despite the exponential changes that happen around us, where social media is the key driver.
    Working on field research for now almost 10 years, on the underlying group dynamics that drive or hinder a faster adaptation to the social media challenges.

  2. Thanks so much for the great information. I always love to read more about social media and marketing.

  3. Since it appears getting a position in social media isn't dependent upon age, but rather than education, it seems rather contradictory that the hiring decision is left up to a group of individuals who may not be well-versed in social media and are therefore left to the mercy of the candidate they are interviewing. Do these hiring managers know what questions to ask of the prospective candidate? Would they know what a good social media strategy should look like for their company? How would the hiring manager go about weeding out the "wannabe's" from the career social media candidates?
    The more I learn about social media, the more I understand I have a lot more to learn myself. This arena is changing too fast for just anyone to think they are an expert at it. Personal opinion: I think it would be very beneficial to arrange half-day workshops for the hiring managers of companies to teach them what to look for in a social media manager or strategist. This would help them get more up-to-speed with the social media realm while equipping them with relevant knowledge to help them make better hiring decisions. Thoughts?

  4. Thanks for the comments

    @Ralf – I think history repeats itself over and over. :)

    @Lisa – You are right on. It is indeed a big issue and you are the final kick to our 3 hour lesson for hiring managers. The Social Business Consulting Group is actually offering a Social Media Road Map program to help a company on their specific needs – but that is actually step 2 :) 

    We'll keep you posted – you may want to register for the SMACAD Membership

  5. As a social media doctoral research who does not have 'years' of industry experience, reading this post has made me more confident in securing the type of position I want at the end of my PhD.  Thanks

  6. The article mentions that while 59 of marketers use social media in some capacity and the figure will jump to 82 next year some companies are still resistant to social media marketing..Mashables article features a chart that lists the biggest deterrents to social media. ..In my opinion reasons 2-7 directly correlate with Reason 1 which can be boiled down to a lack of social media education. Social media marketing is fairly new although it ties the basic principles of marketing into a new medium environment.

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