Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 4 seconds

Asset managers and other financial advisory firms are planning to aggressively increase their digital marketing next year. Yet, with unemployment at a significantly low rate of only 4.1%, many firms will face challenges in recruiting employees for executing on their new marketing goals.

At the same time, however, digital marketing firms are taking action to help alleviate a shortage of skilled workers. In a recent study by Cognito, 61% of communication professionals say they plan to boost content creation next year and 56% say they see an increasing portion of their budgets going to digital marketing, reports O’Dwyer’s.

The survey focused on 165 communications pros across the banking, asset management, wealth management, FinTech, insurance, technology and professional services sectors in the U.S. and elsewhere. It also determined that many firms will increase their commitment to social media and digital advertising next year.

Even though the unemployment rate implies that the nation is facing a worker shortage, it doesn’t illustrate the complete challenge that financial firms face with recruiting digital marketers. Indeed, among workers who are seeking employment, there are limited numbers of individuals with technology skills at a time when many firms need to expand their ranks.

Over the last five years, for example, the number of job postings for digital marketing careers has doubled, reports HRDive. The publication reports that approximately 40% of marketing job openings require candidates to have digital skills and digital marketing jobs take 16% longer to fill than traditional marketing jobs.

Firms are responding to the staffing challenge by developing new strategies to broaden the talent pool. General Assembly, which teaches digital marketing skills, for examples, has teamed up with various employers including Google, L’Oreal, and Priceline to form the Digital Marketing Standards Board.

According to HRDive, the new organization seeks to make digital marketing jobs more transparent and accessible. In the process, it will publish skills maps and seek to illustrate career paths within the industry.

Facebook is also taking action to improve the digital marketing workforce. It recently announced its “community Boost” initiative, which involves training unemployed individuals on digital marketing skills, according to an announcement from Facebook.

As part of the educational program, Facebook representatives will conduct the training in 30 locations in the U.S. in 2018. Facebook will also provide entrepreneurs with advice and help firms that aren’t online develop a digital presence. For Facebook, Community Boost is an extension of existing programs. The company has already spent more than $1 billion on its “Boost Your Business” platform that supports small businesses, reports TechWire Asia.

Facebook has also created a curriculum for studying digital marketing that is being offered in Michigan.

New technology is also being deployed to assist in recruiting workers. Chatbots that use machine learning and natural language processing, for example, can handle up to 80% of top-of-funnel recruiting functions, reports business2community.

Companies can potentially damage their reputations as employers by not responding to inquiries from job seekers. In a Workopolis survey, 42% of job seekers said they never heard back from companies after their initial touchpoint.

Companies with weak brands as employers may have a hard time recruiting employees because job seekers may tell their friends or other acquaintances that they never received follow up communications. Chatbots can also be used with numerous communication formats, including email, social media, and various messaging platforms.

While the efforts by digital companies to provide workforce training may help increase the pool of skilled employees, it may not address the problem of increasing the number of workers who possess both digital marketing and financial industry skills. For that issue, asset managers may have to commit to train entrants to the financial industry.

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