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UK senior marketers facing digital skills deficit

A new CMA survey has found that the majority of senior marketers received no training in the last two years

A clear age divide has emerged among UK marketers around opportunities to upskill, with a majority of those over 55 having received no training over the past two years.

The disparity is uncovered in new research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), which unearthed widespread ageism.

Training deficit

  • Digital Vision, living on the cutting edge’ showed that a majority of marketers aged 55 and over received zero training in the two years leading up to the pandemic.

  • This has generated concerns that senior marketers may not be equipped with the skills required to keep pace with a fast-evolving sector.

  • Ways of working are being revolutionised by a widespread shift to digital but much of this potential risks being missed as many of those in charge of managing the transition are not fully equipped for the task.

  • A yawning training deficit means a worrying 35% of marketers have attended no training courses, events or conferences in the past two years.

  • This lack of participation becomes increasingly acute with age with 44% of 45-54-year-olds absent from any form of external or internal self-improvement initiatives – rising to 74% among those aged 65 and up.

  • By contrast, the equivalent proportion of 16-24-year-olds who have gone without training stands at just 7%.

  • This blind spot meant 41% of senior marketers did not participate in training, a lower participation rate than any other group by seniority.

Digital skills gap poses risk to organisations

  • Low levels of training contradict an acknowledgement by 71% of marketers that young people outclass their older peers in terms of their digital marketing.

  • A further 44% of respondents fret that poorly trained marketers could be a liability to their companies.

  • While senior marketers coast junior staff continue to make headway at improving their skill set in key areas such as data and analytics, social media and search engine optimisation (SEO).

  • In summation, the CIM believes we have allowed a situation to develop where specialists have become ever more knowledgeable in their narrow field of expertise while higher-ups see their knowledge base stagnate or even contract.

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