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Inside the Current Inbound Job Market: New Data on Today's Hottest Roles & Responsibilities

Are you a jack of all inbound trades or a master of one? If you’re looking for a new gig, recent research shows that you may be better off as the former.

According to a new study by Fractl and Moz, there’s an increasing demand for marketers with a varied skill set. The study also found that demand is high for inbound skills, with significant growth seen in the number of roles seeking social media, content marketing, and digital marketing skills. However, employers struggle to find well-rounded marketers with the technical and creative competencies needed to succeed in today’s marketing landscape.

If you're a person on the hunt for a new gig, or an employer looking to finally fill that role on your team, what else should you know about the current inbound job market? Read on to dive into some of the study's most compelling findings. 

Popular job listings seek a diverse mix of marketing skills.

As part of the study, more than 75,000 Indeed job listings containing keywords such as “digital marketing,” “inbound marketing,” “content marketing,” “SEO,” “social media,” “Google Analytics,” and “PPC” were analyzed. Of the 20 most popular job titles within that data set, most job descriptions called for a broad range of marketing skills.

Twenty Most Common Job Titles

A generalist role like Digital Marketing Specialist may require a skill set that includes experience with content marketing, analytics, SEO, PPC, and social media. Even the SEO Specialist job ads were looking for skills beyond SEO, including content marketing and PPC.

The study also looked at the most common job titles for each search query. While you might expect to see a majority of specialist roles for these search queries such as Social Media Manager or PPC Specialist, most of the job titles are for generalist roles such as Digital Marketing Manager.

Five Most Common Job Titles for Each Search Query

Perhaps the most interesting results are for “social media marketing,” which had only one social media-focused role in its top five job titles, three generalist positions, and one non-marketing role (Recruiter). The inclusion of Recruiter within the top five suggests that the need for social media skills extends beyond the marketing department. It may also explain why job ads requiring social media skills are so prevalent, which we’ll dive into more in the next section.

Other findings include:

  • “Content marketing” searches had three content-specific roles appear in the top five, with the other being two generalist marketing positions.
  • For “SEO” searches, only one of the top five job titles is for an SEO-focused role, and only one PPC-specific role was in the top five for "PPC."
  • Since few roles would actually have “Google Analytics” in the title, it’s not surprising that the top job titles for that search are so varied.

For further insight into this trend, I spoke with Diane Domeyer, executive director for The Creative Group. She says that professionals who have a mix of skills -- email specialists who know SEO or copywriters who understand information architecture, for example -- are highly sought.

Are employers unrealistic about the breadth of skills they expect from a single employee? Domeyer cautions employers to not go overboard with listing too many requirements in job descriptions, which can deter good candidates from applying. She recommends focusing on five to six crucial skills needed for the job.

Social media skills were listed as a requirement in almost half of the job ads. 

Nearly half of all the job listings analyzed (46.7%) contained “social media marketing” or “social media management.”

Number of Job Listings Per Keyword

The extreme volume of social media job listings doesn’t necessarily reflect a huge number of social media focused roles. Social media has become an expected skill within a variety of roles, even non-marketing positions such as Recruiter and Customer Service Representative. Meanwhile, you’d be hard pressed to find non-marketing roles seeking PPC skills.

Here’s how the other keywords fared in terms of search volume:

  • Job ads containing “digital marketing” or “inbound marketing” were a distant second, with 19.5% of the search volume.
  • 15.5% of the job listings contained “SEO,” and “Google Analytics” appeared in 8.7% of the job listings.
  • “Content marketing” and “PPC” had the lowest volume of search results, with 5.8% and 3.8% respectively.

Social media, digital marketing, and content marketing jobs have seen the most growth.

Looking at how much certain jobs have grown in recent years is a good indicator of which skills are most in demand. The graphs below show the percentage of job listings containing certain keywords based on historical data from Indeed.

Job listings containing “social media marketing” or “social media management” have seen significant recent growth in addition to some staggered growth in the last several years. Indeed lists “social media” as one of its top 10 job trends (as of July 2015).

Social Media Job Growth

Between 2009 and 2015, the number of Indeed job listings that mention “digital marketing” or “inbound marketing” grew by about 867%.

Digital Marketing Job Growth

Although content marketing has a low volume of results, it has seen significant growth. The number of job listings on Indeed containing “content marketing” or “content strategy” grew by nearly 350% between 2011 and 2015. 

Content Marketing Job Growth

Additional data points from the study include:

  • The number of SEO job listings peaked in 2011 and has decreased by 58% as of January 2015. However, there is still a high volume of SEO job listings compared to content marketing.
  • Other than a large spike around 2008 (shortly after the second version of Google Analytics was released), job listings for “Google Analytics” have maintained the same search volume.
  • The number of PPC job listings peaked in 2012 and decreased by about 55% as of January 2015.

Is the amount of available talent keeping up with the growth in job opportunities? The prevalence of keywords in LinkedIn profiles can shed some light on which skills are gaining popularity among marketers.

Growth of Marketing Keywords Found in U.S. LinkedIn Profiles

Most notably:

  • Between 2013 and 2015, the number of U.S. LinkedIn profiles mentioning content marketing has increased by 168%. Notice this is still a significantly smaller number of profiles compared to other inbound skills, appearing on just over 31,000 profiles.
  • The number of U.S. LinkedIn profiles mentioning “social media” grew 137% between 2013 and 2015. It’s also worth mentioning how prevalent this skill is among LinkedIn members -- it appears in more than 2.2 million profiles.
  • Between 2013 and 2015, the number of LinkedIn profiles in the U.S. containing “inbound marketing” grew by 112%.

While the talent pool is growing, some recent data suggest that demand is outpacing supply. Wanted Analytics recently reported that Marketing Manager is one of the hardest roles to fill, with only two available candidates per job listing. A recent survey by The Creative Group found that 42% of executives report it’s hard to find professionals with the skills they seek, up from 24% from a year ago.

Recruiters may also be struggling to find marketers due to the combination of skills they seek. As stated in “The Inbound Marketing Economy”:

While there may be a lot of specialists out there, perhaps recruiters are struggling to fill marketing roles due to a lack of generalists or even a lack of specialists with surface-level knowledge of other areas of digital marketing (also known as a T-shaped marketer)."

Employers may have to compromise on their job requirements or look for more junior talent for hard-to-fill roles. Ramping up on-the-job training may also be crucial for bridging the skills gap.

Jobs requiring digital marketing, SEO, or analytics skills have the highest average salaries. 

So which skills are worth the most to employers? Here’s a look at the average salaries for job listings containing the following keywords.

National Salary Averages Based on Job Listing Keywords

  • “Digital marketing” or “Inbound marketing” had the highest average salary at $84,000
  • “SEO” and “Google Analytics” both had average salaries of $76,000
  • “PPC” had an average salary of $63,000
  • “Content marketing” had an average salary of $61,000
  • “Social media marketing” had the lowest average salary of $57,000

These numbers changed a bit when looking at keywords within the job title, as opposed to anywhere in the job listing.

National Salary Averages Based on Job Title Keywords
  • Job titles containing “SEO” had an average salary of $102,000
  • Job titles containing “Google Analytics” had an average salary of $82,000
  • Job titles containing “Content marketing” had an average salary of $74,000
  • Job titles containing “Digital marketing” or “Inbound marketing” had an average salary of $71,000
  • Job titles containing “Social media marketing” had an average salary of $51,000

Although social media skills are the most prevalent in job listings, they also have less value than the other skills analyzed in the study. Notice that the salaries for “SEO,” “content marketing,” and "Google Analytics" increased when the keyword was in the job title. This suggests that specialized roles may actually pay better.

Based on the study, we see that it’s a candidate’s market with ample opportunities for marketers with inbound skills. There is a growing number of inbound jobs and a growing number of marketers with inbound skills. Having a surface-level understanding of several other marketing disciplines in addition to deep expertise in one area can give job seekers a competitive edge. (Pro Tip: If you're on the job hunt, getting your Inbound Certification could give you a leg up.)

Employers having difficulty finding the right candidates for inbound roles should consider solutions such as less stringent job requirements. Looking for less experienced candidates who show potential and providing more training can also help ease hiring woes.

Be sure to read the full study for additional data, including which states have the most inbound job opportunities.

inbound marketing certification

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