When It Comes To Digital Marketing Skills, Colleges Aren’t Cutting It

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Adobe Stock / cherryandbees

April 14, 2024 at 4:24AM UTC
By now, we’re all well aware how rapidly technology is changing the world we live and work in. While it’s pretty much impossible to avoid the influence of tech in any field, there are certain industries where its impact is more keenly felt than others — like digital marketing
As a professional in this field, it can be pretty difficult to keep up with all the technological changes this industry is experiencing on a day-to-day basis. And these constant evolutions can seem even more challenging to someone who’s been out of the workforce for a few years and is now looking to reenter it, especially. 
study released by the Digital Marketing Institute confirms the existence of a skills gap in this industry. Testing over 900 marketing professionals in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland for digital marketing competency, their research found that a shocking 92 percent majority failed to qualify for even entry-level expertise. This, when more than half of respondents deemed themselves “fairly competent” at digital marketing in a self-assessment. Meaning? A majority of these marketers are lacking in the most current, relevant skills — but they don’t perceive themselves to be. 
Why exactly is this the case? Partly, it’s due to a lack of understanding and urgency within companies themselves. Though 63 percent of U.S. marketers surveyed (and a similar majority in the U.K. and Ireland) said that becoming more digitally focused will be crucial to their company within the next two years, digital training programs and initiatives within many companies continue to remain subpar, if they exist at all. Only 18 percent of U.S. organizations were found to provide essential training support, causing 59 percent of American marketers to cite a sense of anxiety
New skills continue to be required in this highly evolving industry, and at an increasingly frequent rate. But if most employers aren’t making the effort to keep their workforce technologically up-to-date and relevant, neither are traditional education institutions. Bruce Cleveland, co-founder of the micro-education company GreenFig, explained:
“Most traditional education programs are not equipped to provide the hands-on and work-related experience students need to master business application software and business science. Industry requirements and business applications change so rapidly that by the time a new curriculum is peer-reviewed and approved, it is already out of date – and few university professors have current industry experience or are skilled in the use of business application software.”
Offering courses and micro-degrees in applied business science subjects (like digital marketing), GreenFig is one of the education startups looking to close the skills gap a lack of technology preparedness is creating. Stepping in where more established higher education institutions and businesses themselves are failing, the goal is to make students as job-ready and marketable as possible by providing current, of-the-moment training in accelerated doses, something GreenFig’s founders plan to explain in greater detail at two upcoming luncheon events in New York (June 22) and San Francisco (June 23). 
When it comes to boosting one’s relevancy in digital marketing, there are multiple groups of people who could stand to benefit, GreenFig CEO Libby Unger explained.
“College students can augment their liberal arts education and move their resume to the top of the list for high demand business science jobs,” she said. “Professionals can prepare for a career shift into a new field, return to the workforce with relevant business science skills, or simply upskill to stay relevant. And, a veteran can accelerate his or her transition into the civilian workforce.”
The “digital” in marketing certainly isn’t going anywhere. The real question is — are you?


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