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The 2019 Marketing Jobs Outlook Is Bright

The 2019 Marketing Jobs Outlook Is Bright

Christine Moorman and Lauren Kahn

Find out what employers want and what they have to offer candidates as marketing budgets expand and demand for marketers rises

Looking for a job in marketing? The CMO Survey​ can help. The latest survey, conducted in August, involved 324 marketers at the VP level or above across 13 industry sectors. The survey revealed much about the kinds of companies that aspiring marketers might consider, the skills they should emphasize in their applications and the areas of marketing they can pursue. ​​

Marketing Hiring Trends

Companies are eager to hire marketers. The number of marketing hires is estimated to increase by 6.4% in the next year, according to the survey. The percent change in the number of marketing hires planned over the next year has been positive since the metric was first measured by the survey in February 2012 (Exhibit 1). 

The biggest percent change in planned marketing hires in the next 12 months is in B2C product companies (9.7%), followed by B2B product companies (7%), B2C services (6.3%) and B2B services (4.1%). Transportation and retail/wholesale companies expect to have double-digit growth (14.5% and 13.3% respectively), whereas consumer packaged goods, healthcare, banking/financial services, communications/media and consumer services companies expect to grow between 6 and 9.4% over the next year. Marketing hiring growth is expected to be comparatively limited for technology/software/biotech companies (1.9%). 

Over the next year, companies without e-commerce sales are expected to increase their marketing staffs at a greater rate than companies where e-commerce composes more than 10% of sales (7.4% versus 4.7%). On average, smaller companies (less than $500 million in annual revenue) expect to increase marketing hires at a greater rate over the next year than larger companies (more than $500 million in annual revenue).

In addition to in-house opportunities, aspiring marketers also have ample opportunity to work in agencies and marketing consultancies. Nearly 22% of social media activities are performed by outside agencies, and B2C product companies outsource almost 40% of such activities. Marketing outsourcing was expected to increase by 1.6% in 2016 and has steadily climbed to a 5.5% expected increase in 2019. Aspiring social media marketers should consider working for agencies.


How Much Influence Does Marketing Wield at Your Potential Employer? 

Many marketers prefer to work in companies where marketing plays a powerful role. To gauge the amount of power marketing holds within an organization, you might look at whether the company has a CMO and whether there are marketers on the company’s board. The size of a firm’s marketing budget as a percentage of the firm’s overall budget is also an indicator of the power marketers hold within the company. As a reference point, marketers report that spending on their department as a percent of the company’s total budget is 10.8% on average and has fluctuated between 10 and 12% for the last six years. 

Comparing sectors, B2C product companies have the highest marketing budget as a percent of firm budget (17.2%). B2B product companies budget less than half that (8.5%), and B2B services and B2C services budget in between the two (9.6% and 11.6% respectively). The industries with the highest marketing budgets as a percentage of firm budget are communications, consumer services and consumer goods. The mining/construction, energy and manufacturing sectors have the lowest marketing budgets as a percentage of firm budget, suggesting that the marketing function has limited power within these types of companies. Larger ($10 billion and more in revenue) and smaller (less than $100 million in revenue) companies allot a larger percentage of budget to marketing, as do companies that make more than 10% of their sales from e-commerce. 

Types of Marketing Jobs to Consider 

If you consider spending as a proxy for opportunity, survey results indicate that companies expect to increase spending on digital marketing by 12.3% on average in the next year while they expect to decrease spending on traditional advertising by 1.2% on average. These metrics clearly suggest that there is more opportunity in digital marketing than in traditional advertising. 

Marketers should look for jobs in social media, mobile marketing and marketing analytics—all areas of 
marketing with expected budget growth. Social media spending as a percentage of marketing budget has grown since August 2013 and grew more in the last year than any other survey year since this metric was first gauged in 2009. Spending on mobile marketing is also rising and currently composes 9.4% of the marketing budget, up from 3.7% in February 2017. The percent of marketing budget spent on mobile is expected to increase to 18% on average in the next three years, with B2C services companies dedicating the highest portion of their marketing budget to mobile (26.1%). For marketing analytics, the percent of marketing budget has stayed relatively flat since the first time it was measured in 2012, but the amount is expected to increase from 6.7 to 21.3% over the next three years. 

The responsibilities of marketers vary across companies, however marketers are most likely to lead activities related to brand, digital marketing, advertising, social media, public relations, promotions, positioning, marketing research, lead generation, marketing analytics and competitive intelligence. They are least likely to lead activities related to stock market performance, distribution, customer service and sales (Exhibit 2). Identify which of these marketing activities appeal most to you and research which companies have marketing organizations that spearhead those activities. 

Skills Valued by Marketers

To know what skills to emphasize in your application look to the responses from marketing leaders: Across industries and economic sectors, most value creativity in their hires. When marketing leaders were asked to rank the importance of seven skills, creativity was ranked in the top four for all industries and in the top two for most industries. After creativity, natural leadership abilities and martech platform experience were ranked as most important (Exhibit 3). Martech platform experience is more important for B2B firms than B2C firms.

Nearly 50% of marketing leaders reported a “lack of people who can link marketing analytics to practice” as a key factor preventing their companies from using marketing analytics more. When marketing leaders were asked what is most important for driving organic growth in their organizations, more than one-third of participants said,“having the right talent.” This was followed by “having all stakeholders aligned.” These results suggest candidates should emphasize creativity, leadership abilities, martech platform experience, marketing analytics knowledge and the ability to engage stakeholders effectively.

Marketing Training and Development 

Job-seekers can also consider which employers will offer them the most formal training to teach new marketing knowledge and skills. To gauge this, ask what percent of the marketing budget is devoted to training and development; if the number is below 3.9% (the average across all companies), you might want to rethink the job opportunity if training is important to you. Interestingly, B2B companies tend to offer more marketing training than B2C companies—a likely byproduct of the weaker marketing in B2B companies. Companies with no e-commerce train the least. We suspect there is less to learn about new marketing methods in these companies. 

Beginning Your Marketing Job Search

Whether you are looking to work in-house or at an agency, in a large company or small, in B2B or B2C, it’s an exciting time to pursue a job in marketing. With an increasing demand for marketers, the opportunities are many. Use our insights from The CMO Survey to guide you in your job search. Best of luck!

Conducted biannually, The CMO Survey is sponsored by the American Marketing Association, Deloitte and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. It is the longest-running survey of its kind. To participate in the next survey, visit

Christine Moorman is T. Austin Finch Sr. Professor of Business Administration, Duke University, USA, and Founder and Director, The CMO Survey.

Lauren Kahn is an MBA student at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.