Most in Demand Skills for 2021 - Marketing, Communications & Sales in Retail & Consumer Sector

Most in Demand Skills for 2021 - Marketing, Communications & Sales in Retail & Consumer Sector

Pearce Doorley Market Insight, Career Advice

Most in Demand Skills for 2021

2020 has been a challenging year for businesses which presented setbacks for some but increased demand for others. Either way, recruitment has been impacted considerably. That being said, the skill sets in demand haven’t hugely changed from 2019, there has just been even more of a focus on digital.

Throughout 2020 several e-commerce businesses have seen record-breaking results even through the global pandemic. With this in mind, the hiring focus has continued to be on a number of different digital skill sets.

Our consultants speak with candidates and clients working in these high demand areas on a daily basis resulting in us being able to identify the most highly demand skill sets in the market in real-time. Here are the top 8 hard skills we have identified.

1. Digital Marketing

We have seen a continued rise in the demand for digital marketers globally. Companies, especially those within the retail consumer sector, have shifted spend from traditional marketing to digital, making recruitment within digital marketing extremely competitive. The best digital marketers who can demonstrate track records of getting good ROI market share and engagement will be the highest
in demand.

2. Digital Performance

This is one of the most sought-after skills within marketing as the candidates with this experience can maximise the marketing budget and bottom line. Apps are part of today’s retail experience and they will only become more engrained in customers daily lives, therefore companies with mobile apps are focussing on performance marketing to encourage app downloads and subsequently revenue. There is a bigger focus on digital performance within tech, food and ecommerce. Tech companies, in particular, are recruiting more digital performance specialists.

3. Data Scientists

Data has and always will be the key to being able to make excellent marketing decisions. With more data being collected and available to marketing teams than ever before, data analysis and the ability to be able to present and visualise this within consumer and retail businesses is a key part of any marketing team. Demand for skilled data enthusiasts goes beyond those who can simply operate a Google Analytics dashboard. Data scientists are needed to help with predictions without having to bring in external help, and from conversations with many CMO’s, it continues to be an important skill set to their teams.

4. E-commerce Analytics

As the high street has evolved in the past few years and many retailers have changed their approach to omni-channel, the role of analytics has become even more important. Online retail is continuing to grow and businesses are looking for versatile candidates that have a great understanding of the digital marketing mix and can spot trends quickly so that action can be taken to create an uplift in revenue.

5. Content

Content is still a huge factor in the success of so many businesses. It’s not just about the copy, it’s about innovative, competitive pieces of media and campaigns that gets their customers engaged and ultimately creates ROI. A good content writer understands how everything fits together, from the SEO and algorithms to keywords it’s all about quality and having the greatest impact on a company’s marketing strategy.

6. Social Media

As the social media landscape constantly evolves with new channels, tools, strategies, and trends, the demand for highly-skilled social media marketers has never been higher. Whether a brand is using social media as an organic distribution channel or is relying on it for paid acquisition, there’s a continuous shift in the skills required to maintain a successful career in this field. With brands now focussed on delivering tangible business value through social media, it’s important for social media marketers to embrace data-driven strategies that drive conversion-based outcomes. As a result,
the skills required to be an effective social media marketer now include competency in analyzing performance data, making data-driven decisions, and developing agile strategies based on insights.

7. Sales

You’d be hard-pressed to find a company that doesn’t need great sales leaders - those who can effectively relate to customers, manage a sales team, understand the sales funnel, work with cross-functional partners, and sell into the highest levels of the business. Outstanding sales leaders are strategic, looking at the overall view of an issue and identifying patterns to be improved or areas of opportunity to boost revenue. Key characteristics of high-performing sales leaders include excellent communication skills, the ability to motivate, a drive to achieve results and skills in coaching and team building.


This tech skill is in great demand for obvious reasons: increased visibility means more site traffic, and more site traffic leads to increased conversions, customers and revenue.


To see where you stand and to gain interesting market insights, download our Marketing, Communications & Sales in Retail & Consumer Industry - Salary Guide & Market Trends Report.

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