How COVID Is Changing The Job Market For Marketing Professionals

By Matt Bertram

By Matt Bertram

Matt Bertram is Head of Digital Strategy at EWR Digital. He is a nationally recognized expert in SEO and the Co-Host of the top rated SEO Podcast, "The Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing." Author of Build Your Brand Mania: How to Transform Yourself Into an Authoritative Brand That Will Attract Your Ideal Customers with contributing articles in Forbes, Search Engine Journal and numerous other publications pertaining to digital marketing.

The U.S. job market continues to ebb and flow as we move into the second quarter of 2021. The second wave of COVID has caused concerns worldwide, which doesn’t convey encouragement for job market growth.

According to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job market update, the overall unemployment rate decreased 0.5 points, bringing the total to 7.9 percent. That equates to a million more Americans returning to the workforce.

The BLS estimates that 12.6 million American workers are still unemployed. The job market has seen life signs in the past few months, but nothing compared to last February’s numbers.

Some jobs and professions are feeling the effects more than others. Marketing, for example, can be grouped into the professional and related occupations category defined by the BLS, serving up a 2-3 percent rise in unemployment for last September.

Due to the rise in consumers’ digital needs, the marketing space has seen a few interesting shifts. Let’s take a closer look at COVID’s impact on the job market for marketing professionals.

Shifts In Marketing Have Certainly Raised Some Concerns For Marketing Professionals

The global pandemic has given rise to challenges for marketers and businesses aligned with changing customer needs. For instance, physical events like conferences and trade shows have become virtual. This has led to a shift in how marketing messages are developed and conveyed.

Other challenges include:

  • Budget uncertainty for traditional marketing
  • Remote work management and organization
  • Communications with clients and consumers

Marketing professionals certainly face job market uncertainty due to these challenges. However, the need for more digital marketing has fueled more jobs, and many marketing professionals already have the digital marketing acumen to fill the gap.

Digital Marketing Professionals In High Demand

Due to federal and state COVID restrictions and guidelines, the shift in consumer needs has caused major concern for businesses. As sales continue to decline for businesses, traditional marketing professionals have been furloughed or let go.

But business must continue in some way, creating a digital marketing boom. Marketing teams are growing, and that growth is ushered in due to digital needs. Companies large and small are shifting to online channels to reach and convert customers.

This makes digital marketing an absolute necessity. A recent survey found that 67 percent of advertisers and marketers allocated more of the overall business budget toward digital media, and 74 percent said their digital marketing budgets would increase in the next 12 months.

“As many forms of live sales interactions have slowed, or ground to a halt, meeting customers online where they’re spending vast amounts of time right now is critical,” atCommunications founder Terry Kasdan explained in a Daily Herald article.

What does this mean for marketing professionals? More digital marketing jobs. This is especially true for marketing and SEO agencies supporting businesses in their efforts to create or revamp powerful digital marketing campaigns.

The job market for paid search marketing professionals and SEO experts will most likely see an increase as we approach 2021. A survey of over 150 marketers found that 75 percent will utilize paid search via social media channels and paid display search efforts. 

An estimated 64 percent will also be turning to digital video to reach and convert customers online. This indicates that the job market for marketing professionals is trending up. However, landing a marketing job may be more challenging than during the pre-pandemic job market.

Marketing Professionals Need To Stay Marketable During COVID

Marketing Professionals

Marketing professionals still need to be aware of unemployment risk during COVID, despite the rise of companies’ digital marketing needs. The current job market instability has caused many marketers to be unemployed. This means that digital marketing jobs have a ton more qualified and, in some cases over-qualified, applicants.

A Harvard Business Review article notes that we might be in an employer’s market. “In the past, the intensity of competition for talent followed the ups and downs of the economic cycle. It’s therefore unsurprising—given the Covid-19 downturn—to hear that several thought leaders are concluding that we are back to an employer’s market.”

Let’s take a look at a local example. Houston local SEO and marketing needs have been off the charts. In Houston, 97 percent of businesses have less than 100 employees. Yet, those businesses make up 50 percent of Houston’s workforce. Those businesses need to stay up and running, thus the high demand for digital marketing and local SEO services.

To meet these new demands by businesses, Houston local SEO and marketing agencies need more digital marketing and local SEO professionals to manage new accounts. But the catch-22 is that more marketers and SEOs are applying to those jobs. Some of the applicants are outside the Houston area or even in different states altogether.

Marketers need to stay marketable during COVID if they want to gain employment and keep it. How can marketing professionals do this? Highlight digital marketing skills.

For example, marketing professionals searching for a job during COVID need to put together a digital marketing portfolio. This portfolio will include all assets on digital campaigns. 

You’ll also need to revamp that resume. Hiring managers will no longer be looking at physical marketing acumen as a plus. Campaigns that highlight event marketing, TV and radio marketing, brick-and-mortar marketing, and other traditional marketing forms can reduce your chances of landing a job during COVID.

Wrapping Up . . .

COVID is certainly changing the job market for marketing professionals. There is job market uncertainty for marketing professionals, but there is also a long list of digital marketing space opportunities.

Staying tuned in to the shifts in consumer needs during COVID can ultimately help marketing professionals navigate the pandemic job market with more certainty. The question you should ask yourself as a marketer is “How can I showcase or hone my digital skills to stand out among other digital marketers?”

Are you a marketing professional that needed to find a job during COVID? How did you navigate the uncertain job market? We want to hear from you.

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