Having Trouble Hiring Marketing Operations Talent? You’re Not Alone.
Need to hire for your marketing operations team? Join the club. Marketing ops is an industry on fire, increasingly taking its rightful place as a core component of the modern marketing engine. But as more and more companies invest in this critical function, a massive gap has emerged between the demand for talent and its supply. These days, finding marketing ops talent can feel nearly as hard as living without it.
To understand the forces at work behind this talent crisis, we teamed up with Demandbase to study the state of MOPs talent. We surveyed hundreds of marketing ops pros to figure out what the industry is up against—and how we can all overcome it. Here’s what we found:
Marketing Ops is Growing—Fast
From ten-person companies to ten thousand (and beyond), marketing teams are growing their MOPs investment. In just two years, the average marketing operations team has jumped by 66%, with many sectors seeing their teams doubling.
There’s No Pipeline for New MOPs Talent
Just because you’ve built it doesn’t mean they’ll come. It’s a problem hiring managers run into across the spectrum: There’s no reliable source of junior-level employees. “There’s plenty of training for people to become teachers or lawyers,” explains Pierce Ujjainwalla, Co-Founder and CEO of Knak. “But even in business school, marketing operations isn’t something that is really on the curriculum.”
As a result, more than nine in ten marketing operations professionals end up learning on the job.
And it’s not as if anyone can do the work. “Finding someone with the skills required to work in marketing ops is almost like trying to find a purple unicorn,” says Dr. Debbie Qaqish, Cheif Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. “You have to be technical; you have to be analytical; you have to understand business; you have to understand marketing; you have to be an extraordinary collaborator.” That’s no small ask!
Hiring for Marketing Ops is Long and Expensive
Evidence of this lack of talent supply is abundant. Take the amount of time companies spend searching for, recruiting, and interviewing candidates: Nearly half of companies spend more than four months on the hunt, and the average organization shells out more than $22,000 dollars between recruiters, ads, and employee time.
“The state of hiring in MOPs is a lot different than other traditional jobs,” says Crissy Saunders, CEO and Co-Founder of CS2 Marketing. “It’s very competitive; it feels like we’re all swimming in a very small pool going after the same talent.” And the candidates who do exist are well aware of their value. “They know all these other companies are looking for them and their skill set,” says Saunders.
Once you manage to land someone, be prepared to pay up: The average MOPs compensation number has jumped by more than $10,000 since 2020, according to Sara McNamara’s ongoing salary survey.
Takeaways: Beating the Talent Crunch
Marketing ops will only grow to be more critical, which means hiring is a problem every leader should be poised to solve. While there’s only so much you can do to change the lack of talent supply, there are some steps you can take to find the people you need:
- Rethink your skills requirements. Knak’s Ujjainwalla advocates getting rid of outdated technical requirements, like knowledge of HTML and CSS, in order to widen your reach.
- Value the employees you already have. Sara McNamara, marketing ops at Salesforce, says it’s crucial that leaders acknowledge and appreciate your MOPs team, which will go a long way to prevent burnout.
- Show people what it’s like to work for you. CS2’s Saunders says building a reputation (and not being a “black box of what people are signing up to work for) has done wonders for bringing in new talent organically.
- Look outside the box. Training programs like Highway are working to bridge the gap and produce qualified junior hires who are ready to hit the ground running.
This post is part of the State of MOPs Talent study jointly sponsored by Demandbase and Highway. Demandbase, smarter GTM for B2B brands, helps marketing and sales teams spot the juiciest opportunities earlier and progress them faster. Highway helps MOPs leaders overcome the industry talent crisis by providing job-ready junior MOPs talent for leaders to hire.