Digital managers 240

In our most recent research, Management In Digital, we spoke to 150 managers and 150 employees on their opinions and attitudes to Management in the world of Digital Marketing. The results of which will make fascinating reading for any manager in the digital marketing industry or those being managed across the sector.

One of the key findings from the research was that just over 50% of the managers questioned rated their skills above average in the categories 'good', 'really good' or excellent. Therefore the remaining questioned seem to lack confidence in their abilities, shining the spotlight firmly on management and how they may be contributing to a potential lack of progress for the industry and the companies who those managers belong to.  If we are really seeing a mid level of management who aren't capable of good management, the industry needs to address this in order to ensure it is delivering training, direction and development that employees deserve.

At SAScon BETA, the research was presented in the morning session about Digital Skills & The Industry when a room of digital professionals listened to and debated the subject. Sandy Lindsay MBE from Tangerine PR talked about her experiences with managers they had employed from other agencies and how some of them seemed 'damaged' from the direction and management thy themselves were subject to. At Sandy's agency Tangerine, managers undergo a 10-week training plan to ensure their skills shortages and professional development requirements are addressed.

In the same session, David Edmundson-Bird from Manchester Metropolitan University discussed his views on the issues within management in the Digital Skills Sector. MMU runs a valuable programme for students called Agency Life which gives undergraduates a great opportunity to experience life in an agency or digital marketing department. Both David and his students come across many good and bad managers at these employers and he thinks there should be more professional development courses for managers to attend. However many agencies and companies are reluctant to spend money or attribute training budget to these courses, instead directing money to improving the employee's technical skills instead.

Investment in Technical Skills however is actually one of the lower rated skills seen as making a good manager according to the 150 managers who were interviewed. Only 23% of respondents cited 'Being Highly Skilled' as one of the top 3 skills in a good manager in the digital marketing sector. Instead the most values skills in managers, as rated by managers, are soft skills. 'Good communication', 'Good Motivator' and 'Cares about personal development' are all areas that managers rated as most important. This wasn't far away from the employees views who rated 'Good Communication', Approachability' and 'Good Motivator' in their top requirements from a manager.

In addition to these findings, the research also concluded that:

  • 1 in 4 managers said that being highly skilled was crucial in being a good manager, with only 27% of employees citing this in their top 3 most important qualities in a manager
  • 1 in 5 digital managers chose empathy as an important attribute in a manager, with 19% rating it as least important
  • Although 88% of managers in digital felt their communication skills were their strongest, less than half of employees said their manager had good skills.

The full Research Report for Management in Digital was released in December 2015 and can be read here.


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