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Michael Page Africa: Hiring Digital Marketing Talent in Africa - Janet Machuka

Digital marketing keeps disrupting business industries day by day. Most brands were not ready for the intense digital changes they had to adapt to in 2020. Michael Page Africa has been in the fore front to help brands in hiring digital marketing talent in Africa and beyond. They also offer career and employer advice for brands.

This article features Ali Nel from Michael Page Africa. Ali heads recruitment for sales and marketing roles across Sub Sahara Africa. She specializes in the recruitment of permanent mid-to senior-level sales and marketing professionals, primarily with B2C exposure across a range of sectors. Ali led #AfricaTweetChat session on hiring digital marketing talent in Africa and here are some nuggets from the community.


Digital Marketing Hiring

To get hired for a digital marketing job might seem easy but it takes a lot to be the accepted candidate. Every digital marketing job needs a new skill whose line of operation changes on a continual basis. However, it is safe to say that digital marketing is becoming a highly demanded skill since organizations are moving to the digital space.

Just like any other job, it’s hard, most brands look for experience as they recruit but if one has a passion and open to learning, this shouldn’t be a problem. Nevertheless, most brands now hire people with skills, great network and with a brand that speaks for itself ~ Pinno Ivan Louis


Soft skills employers look for

As a social media user, l have witnessed a number of brands ignore their customers’ and audiences’ concerns. You might have also experienced cases where brands handle crisis communication pathetically.

Well, employers may look for different soft skills depending with their type of culture and business model. But communication, empathy, emotional intelligence and listening should be the key soft skills to any digital marketing person looking for a job.


Emerging trends in Digital Marketing post COVID-19

The future is now, and it is digital. More and more people are shopping their everyday needs and luxury items online. From groceries to sanitisers and from clothes to washing machines. The need to physically visit a store to shop continues to fade.

Marketers in the post-COVID-19 era will have to rethink what technologies they really need, which ones can help them save money, and which ones can help them transform their businesses that have been altered by this crisis.

Other Trends appreciated more include:

1.Community marketing such as building brands using Tweet chats and Facebook Groups

2. The micro-influencer marketing industry is booming more and more. Brands who were caught up in the middle of this mix are collaborating with influencers with less than 500 followers since they are affordable and valuable.

3. Video and Voice for communication. We are having our meetings in a conference room on Google meet or we listening to podcasts on our mobile or laptop.

4. Increased empathy. Messages give a priority to covid and its effects on our lives, which I think is exactly what they should do right now.

5. Business to business collaborations. It has been such a disruptive moment for big brands who were comfortable without diverse digital use. They are now collaborating more with small brands with better digital marketing solutions for their customers.

6. Don’t just collect data, make sure the data works for you.

2020 in-demand jobs within Digital Marketing

Social media executives, strategists, meme makers and creatives, data analysts, copy writers and search engine optimization have become the in-demand jobs. Organizations are embracing digital. They have realized that the only way they can be seen up as digital embracing organizations is having their organization social media pages and accounts ran by social media managers.

I was amazed reading this tweet by Adweek. The meme business is growing at a skyrocketing pace.

Since Covid19 pandemic pushed people indoors, working from home and keeping the social distance, the booming business in e-commerce site has only been successful because of the people behind it. Consumer love e-commerce sites with the best user experience and product subscription, not forgetting responsive chat rooms.


Hiring Generalist vs Specialist roles

Hiring digital marketing talent in Africa is still young and it will take time to reach its maturity. Nevertheless, most big companies are now more woke than ever. There has been head hunting of specialists to perform certain tasks. Nevertheless, startups may find it hard to hire specialists due to pricing hence go for generalists.

“Based on my past experience, most companies tend to hire generalist roles due to many reasons like budget constraints or need to make shortcuts. Though post Covid times there seems to be more specialist roles hires due to growing demand to fix niche issues,” says Nsimbi Joshua.

The cost of hiring specialists can take a toll on brands with limited resources. Hence, most of the organizations will choose to go for a generalist to help handle more roles.

Nevertheless, Ali Nel says it is a company’s choice and the industry they are in.


Networking for Opportunities

It is exhausting to blow your trumpet but easier when others couch for you. The more people know what you can do makes it easy for them to mention your name even in rooms you don’t have access to which sets you up for better opportunities. That’s what networking does.

More reasons to why you should create networks:

1. A network is like a route which facilitate faster and easier access to a particular market.

2. People in your network don’t just identify new opportunities, they can help you decide which ones are right to pursue. Just as you’ll do for them-networking goes both ways.

3. Allows one to exchange ideas and skills, but more importantly, it makes one a valuable resource to others in digital marketing. When you are able to provide insights or help someone else achieve their goals, it is incredibly satisfying for new opportunities.

4. Both online and offline networking are very important for opportunities. Not only do you get the opportunities but also a sponsor who will recommend you during selection and recruitment processes thus maximizing chances of getting the job.

5. Often times we can never forget how someone made us feel. This applies to your peers, you develop a sense of connection when networking. They come to mind first when an opportunity knock ~ Emmanuel Wacha

6. “You will be interested to know 9/10 marketing roles I fill in companies in Africa are via referrals. Referrals best way to find passive and skilled talent. So build your personal brand online. Be vocal. Be seen. Make your work visible. Network!” – Ali Nel



Even in the presence of digital marketing and its platforms, the market is still oversupplied with traditional marketers. As David Rones puts it, “Africa has a large audience to convert into digital space due to electricity, internet and smartphone penetration. That makes slow transition to absorb talent digital marketing.”

If your brand needs advice on hiring digital marketing talent in Africa you can reach out to Michael Page Africa.

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