New Platforms and New Projects: Changes in Skills for Marketing and PR

August 11, 2022 by Tim Hatton, Bledi Taska, Layla O'Kane, Julia Nitschke

Marketing and Public Relations are all about staying on top of the latest innovations to generate leads and create quality content that reaches its audience. But new research shows that some of the biggest changes in the world of work are happening right in the marketing and PR world itself.

This means that new technical skills are going to be important for those in the industry to stay on top of the latest trends—and even more important for those trying to get ahead. The rapid level of skill change in the marketing and PR world shows that the field is on its way to a similar position, where technical expertise is one of the most valuable qualities a worker or jobseeker can have.

Lightcast, The Burning Glass Institute, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) collaborated earlier this year on a research report showing how employer demand for skills has changed over the past several years (based on Lightcast job posting data), and what those trends indicate about how work will continue to change moving forward.

According to the report—Shifting Skills, Moving Targets, and Remaking the Workforce—the average job in the US has seen 37% of its top 20 requested skills change over the past five years. Researchers also found that one in five skills are totally new, and skill change is happening faster and faster. Lightcast data show that nearly three-quarters of jobs changed more over the past two years than they did in the two years before that.

In marketing and PR, the change is even more dramatic. The specific occupation of marketing specialist—a common and representative role in the industry—provides a good example. Twenty percent of the skills required in the role are totally new since 2016, and 40% have changed significantly in terms of their importance. New skills being requested are mostly based in social media and other software tools, while the skills fading in importance are in traditional marketing, such as customer contact and retail industry knowledge.

Within the far-reaching patterns of skill change in marketing and PR, three distinct patterns emerged.

Measuring and Metrics

When making marketing decisions, those in the industry need to know how to provide the best return on investment for stakeholders. That means applying the scientific method: experimenting with new tools and solutions to drive results, then using increasingly specific and sophisticated processes for measuring those results. 

Relevant skills trending: data science, KPIs, Adobe Analytics, test development

New Platforms and Channels

Because the world of digital media moves fast, so do the necessary skills required to keep up. Especially because the report compares data from 2016 to 2021, many of the skills seeing the greatest increase in demand were related to the growth of social media and other digital tools.

Relevant skills trending: affiliate marketing, video editing, Instagram, podcasting

Ways of Working

New kinds of content have brought with them new kinds of management and organization, especially with regard to processing data. Project management and knowledge-sharing expertise are being requested on job postings more and more in marketing and PR roles.

Relevant skills trending: Atlassian JIRA (project software), Confluence (knowledge-sharing software), DevOps

For industry veterans who have more experience with cold calling than Google Analytics, being aware of  the trend toward new metrics and channels can be valuable in helping them adapt. Those just starting out and aiming to advance further could also take advantage of those trends, and work to acquire the types of skills that are seeing the greatest growth.

The fast pace of change is similar to trends seen in jobs like those in IT or software development that rely almost entirely on understanding new technology. By knowing that these trends are underway—and knowing that skill change on the whole is accelerating—those involved in marketing and PR can make informed decisions about what skills to pursue in their own development, and also in the workforce they recruit.

For more detail on skill change in marketing and PR, as well as insight into other industries and a full list of occupations and their rate of change, download the free report below. 

Download the Shifting Skills report: