Survey Reveals That Data Analysis Remains the Biggest Skills Shortage By Marketing Teams



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3 min


05 March, 2024

For the second year in a row, a survey conducted by Marketing Week has found that data and analytical skills remain the biggest skills shortage faced by marketing departments.

This was cited by 36.9% of respondents, followed by:

  • Performance marketing skills (19.6%)
  • Content and copywriting skills (18.1%)
  • Social media (14.8%)
  • Ecommerce (12.1%)

Despite the importance of data in terms of helping brands understand their target audience and craft more tailored campaigns, the definitive solutions seem out of reach.

The approach being taken to bridge the gap varies from one company to the next, as it seems no one truly understands how to solve the problem in the long term.

How businesses are responding

The most common approach seems to be hiring external help with 34.5% of marketers revealing that this is their preferred method.

Another approach is upskilling existing staff, something 33.8% of businesses are investing in whilst 24.5% of respondents are employing consultants and freelancers.

However, perhaps most worryingly from a long-term perspective is that only 11.2% of businesses have invested in a skills audit in an attempt to identify a more sustainable solution.

Despite the approach taken by businesses, upskilling in general, has taken a back seat. Up to half of all survey respondents said they had not been offered any opportunities by their current employer to develop their skills, a notable increase from 33.5% in 2023.

Are marketers up to the job?

More reassuringly is the fact that 83% of respondents believe they have the right combination of skills to do their job effectively.

However, 5.3% of respondents said that they don’t possess the necessary skills to perform their role, while 11.7% aren’t sure.

The problem seems more prevalent at CMO level, with 60.7% of CMO’s/ Marketing Directors not being given the chance to learn and develop new skills. This is significantly higher than 50.2% of middle management and 38.6% of junior roles.

At Canny, we work with marketing teams in multiple sectors from tech, healthcare, and recruitment, creating tailored marketing strategies and reporting on what works against what doesn’t.

Our Founder and Director, Tony Hardy, commented:

Being able to analyse and report on data remains a crucial part of our job as we support our clients goals through real data. We base our decisions off the back of in-depth reports, ensuring the metrics we’re measuring are aligned with the KPIs of our clients. We know that making sense of the different tools available can be a minefield but that’s one of the biggest areas we help with by drilling into the numbers that matter most, and working out how to use the numbers to achieve actual results.

With different companies trying different things, a definitive solution to address the marketing skills shortage remains to be seen.

Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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