Ali Nomani from Michael Page Middle East answers some of our questions on the findings from the 2021 Michael Page Salary Guide.
Earlier this month, recruitment agency Michael Page released their annual Salary guide for 2021, which lists down the salary benchmarks per discipline along with a market overview that includes the most in-demand positions, key skills and experience. When it comes to Marketing, the report reflected the sentiment of what every Marketeer has been saying for the past year, digital roles are in-demand right now, whether it's here in the MENA region or overseas.
Communicate spoke with Ali Nomani, Consultant - Sales & Marketing (B2C) at Michael Page Middle East who sheds more detail on these insights and what the future of work could be in the region.
How is the region's market viewing the role of Marketing in businesses right now? Is there a demand for more marketing executives within an organization?
Marketing in a lot of industries is starting to gain its true value for what it is, which in its simplest of forms is wanting more people to buy more of your products rather than just pushing an agenda. In the past, a lot of companies failed to track the quantitative value generated by the marketing team and instead focused mainly on qualitative data. The new marketeer is someone who is able to build the right message externally whilst also tracking the performance of the brand and adapting its position by countering the fast pace at which demands change.
B2C marketing roles are at the forefront and the industry has seen the need to innovate and adapt with a shift in the landscape since the outbreak of the pandemic. Marketing candidates with a good balance of strategic and operational experience are in demand in the region as compared to specialists. In today’s highly challenging and competitive market, it is important for businesses to understand their USPs, positioning, brand identity and play to their strengths – and businesses look at their marketing department for this. This could also be the reason we are seeing more demand for brand managers.
It is imperative now more than ever for businesses to be ready to adapt at a moment’s notice for the right candidate but this can only be done after eliminating redundant recruitment criteria when shortlisting candidates, such as limiting the talent search to include candidates who have managed the same type of product or distributor, etc. Instead the brief should be broadened and candidates can be assessed based on, for instance, the brands launched, how they have transformed their distributor/internal sales teams or how they have implemented best in class in-store campaigns.
What skills do existing Marketing executives need to brush up on, in order to be more competent for promotions or new roles within the marketing sphere?
Shoulder additional responsibilities and demonstrate your initiative. This holds especially true in current times, where several companies haven’t revived financially, are short-staffed and need their employees to be flexible with their work schedule and balance the workload. If you play this role well, then you will set yourself apart from the rest.
The pandemic has had a big blow for GenZ students who were just about to enter the workforce. What suggestions/advice would you provide for these graduates with regard to job opportunities and experience for marketing roles?
Firstly, optimize your resume: soft skills such as communication, quick learning, emotional intelligence, resilience, and more have proven their worth as organizations navigated the challenges of 2020. They are now at the top of wish lists of many hiring managers. Ensure that these kinds of skills are peppered throughout your resume – don’t just list them, but be ready to share how you have used these skills at the university level.
For graduates who have yet not been able to bag their first job, be ready to demonstrate across your LinkedIn profile as well as your resume how you have been using your time upskilling yourself. The scope of marketing is highly dynamic and it is important you are staying abreast of all the industry updates. There are still lots of webinars taking place, and many offering free access, so sign up for relevant ones.
Network with your peers and also reach out to mid-level and/or senior professionals in the industry to not just connect with them for a job but also to learn about the work they have accomplished and how their career has progressed. Seek mentors. Join associations such as MEPRA, The Marketing Society and PRCA, to name a few – besides the networking benefits they offer, they also run many workshops during the year. MEPRA for instance, has a Student Connect initiative where Marketing, PR and Communications students or fresh graduates can connect with well-accomplished industry professionals for career advice and support.
What do you foresee on the future of remote hiring and remote working in the region?
In a snap survey we conducted with over 1,100 job applicants in the Middle East in Q4 2020, a majority 70% were satisfied at the prospect of returning to their workplace, with 31% neutral and only 3% dissatisfied. This highlights that people do want to return to a sense of ‘normality’, even if remote, or work from home is possible. At this point what is evident is that leaders have to redefine ‘flexibility’ and based on organizational objectives (without losing sight of their long-term vision) have to set the right remote or hybrid working models. Whatever the working arrangement, what continues to be paramount is ensuring employee wellbeing and maintaining transparent communication in order to drive productivity and company employee value proposition (EVP).