Seven in ten execs (71%) at large companies and agencies say their digital marketing teams are strong in some areas but mediocre or weak in others, according to a recent report by the Online Marketing Institute, ClickZ, and Kelly Staffing.

Moreover, 21% of executives surveyed say their employees are mediocre or weak across all digital areas.

Only 8% of survey respondents say their employees are strong in all areas of digital marketing.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 747 executives from global agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

The Talent Gap

  • 22% of respondents say the need for digital marketing specialists is growing.
  • Of greatest need are specialists in analytics, email, content marketing, mobile marketing, and social media.
  • In all of those areas, there is a significant gap between how important executives believe the skill-sets are and the perceived talent level of their teams:

Finding Talent

  • 40% of respondents are not able to find sufficient talent to handle their digital marketing workloads.
  • 70% of large enterprises and 75% of agencies say referrals from professionals are more helpful than the other resources they use to find talent.
  • 36% say students just out of school do not yet have the real-life experience required for their open positions.
  • 70% of large enterprise respondents and 72% from agencies say young employees have a sense of entitlement and expect to advance or be hired for upper-level positions before proving themselves.

Verifying and Building Skills

  • Just 32% of respondents are satisfied with their company's efforts at assessing new digital marketing hires.
  • 30% of large companies and 24% of agencies say they are unable to adequately distinguish between those with the right digital marketing skills and those without.
  • 83% of agencies include training in their orientation programs. However, just 32% test to measure skill acquisition.
  • 28% of large enterprises and 39% of agencies plan to introduce formal training programs to improve digital marketing skills.

About the research: The report was based on data from an online survey conducted in August 2013 of 747 respondents from large businesses (more than 100 employees) and agencies/consultancies.

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State of Digital Marketing Talent: Skills Lacking, Specialists Needed

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji