Digital Marketing Skills Demand Doubles | Burning Glass Technologies

Four in 10 marketing job openings now call for digital marketing skills, and the number of postings calling for digital skills has nearly doubled in the last five years.

Forrester Research has projected that digital marketing will top $100 billion and account for 35% of all marketing spending by 2019.[1] Within the marketing world, there’s an ongoing debate as to the extent to which digital marketing (which focuses on channels like social media, viral video, and web advertisements) will supplant traditional efforts, such as print, television, and direct mail. Others argue that there is no distinction between the two approaches any more: digital marketing is simply marketing.

In job postings, employers clearly make distinctions between the two skill sets—but the demand for digital skills is growing, and employers are willing to pay a premium for digital skills.

There were 174,141 postings calling for digital marketing skills in 2016, or 39% of the 443,440 marketing openings overall. Both categories grew significantly since 2011, but digital grew 30% faster than overall marketing postings.

• Digital marketing skills carry nearly a $7,000 salary premium over other marketing roles.
• Digital marketing jobs take 16% longer to fill.

The digital marketing spectrum covers a range of skills and technologies, some of which have grown dramatically. Demand for Content Marketing has risen a staggering 450% in the last five years while Digital Analytics demand grew 152%, showing how the field is increasingly data-driven. If industry surveys are correct, this trend is likely to continue. One survey found that marketers were anticipating increasing analytics spending by 375% in the next three to five years.[2]

Mobile Marketing, however, is the highest-paid skill, with an average advertised salary of $88,681, followed by Multi-Channel Marketing, with an average advertised salary of $82,782.

Digital Marketing Demand, 2011-2016

CategoryPostings in 2016Growth:
Growth Relative to All Jobs: 2011-2016 Average Salary in 2016Average Posting Duration
All Digital Marketing Jobs174,14192%14%$60,01538 Days
Social Media97,541 96%19%$63,35838 Days
Direct Marketing57,875 100%24%$34,66939 Days
Mobile31,466 67%-17%$88,68140 Days
Digital Analytics28,294 152%89%$76,19437 Days
Digital Advertising19,894 57%-29%$53,88640 Days
Content Marketing16,315 450%459%$70,29637 Days
Multichannel8,642 97%20%$82,78243 Days

Postings for all jobs grew 81% between 2011-2016. 
Another way of looking at demand is to measure posting duration, or how long a job is posted before it is filled. The hardest skills to find often involve content production (such as video and website design) or new technologies, such as the Internet of Things, which have only just begun to appear within the marketing spectrum. But the hardest skill to hire for is one that’s crucial for any company: holding on to its clients.

Most Difficult Digital Marketing Skills to Find

SkillAverage Posting Duration
Client Base Retention70 Days
Internet of Things61 Days
Social Media Integration58 Days
Go-to-Market Strategy54 Days
Information Architecture51 Days
Website Management49 Days
Market Analysis49 Days
Web Site Design49 Days
Sales Channels49 Days
Video Production49 Days
Marketing jobs took 35 days to fill in 2016, on average.


Demand for Digital Marketing Higher at ‘Unicorn’ Companies

“Unicorns” are the high-flyers of the new economy, defined as startup companies valued at $1 billion or more. Notable examples include ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, social media providers like Snapchat and Pinterest, and companies trying to break into traditional industries, such as SpaceX. Because many of these companies are well regarded as innovators in their fields, studying how they define roles can be useful in tracking the likely future shape of demand across the market. That, in turn, can inform career choices for marketers and enable companies to plan ahead.

Unicorns are much more likely to require digital skills in marketing roles than traditional firms. Some 23% of marketing openings at unicorn firms were digital in 2016, compared to only 6% of openings at Fortune 100 companies. Within digital marketing jobs, unicorns put more emphasis on Digital Analytics, Digital Advertising, and Content Marketing than Fortune 100 companies. The Fortune 100 companies are more likely to request Mobile Marketing skills, however.

One possible explanation might be that unicorn companies,as newer organizations, are more attuned to digital media. Another is that unicorn companies usually have digital business models, and so would have less need for traditional marketing than, for example, brick-and-mortar retailers.

Fortune 100Unicorns
Social MediaSocial Media
Marketing KnowledgeMarketing Knowledge
Project ManagementBudgeting
BudgetingProduct Marketing
Market StrategyProject Management
Marketing ManagementMarketing Management
Product MarketingProduct Management
Product ManagementMarket Strategy

Marketing CommunicationsFacebook
Content ManagementSalesforce
Direct MailContent Marketing
Market TrendsE-Commerce
Direct MarketingMarketo
Bolded skills represent skills either not requested or with a significantly different priority in the other category.


Digital Marketing Share of Marketing and PR Opportunities

Even within digital marketing jobs, however, there are differences between skills requested at unicorns and in Fortune 100 companies. The Fortune 100 firms are more likely to require a blend of traditional and digital skills in these roles, whereas unicorns are more likely to ask for product management, e-commerce experience, and specific platforms like Salesforce and Marketo. Both kinds of companies, however, list social media as a top priority skill—an indication how pervasive social media is for modern business.

These skills point to a clear road map to advancement for marketing careers. The advantage for job seekers is that most of these skills can be acquired on the job, via short-term training programs, or through certifications, and that they carry a significant salary premium.

Traditional firms should consider expanding training programs in digital marketing, which will be critical in attracting and retaining talent. Ambitious workers will tend to gravitate to companies where they can learn and grow, and firms that fall behind in skills will also fall behind in recruiting.

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[1]Forrester Research, “US Digital Marketing Forecast, 2014 To 2019,” accessed June 9, 2017,

[2] Deloitte, “The CMO Survey February 2017: Rethink everything,” accessed June 9, 2017,