What is the State of Digital Skills and Wages in Australia?

Author Clodagh O'Brien
Topic Careers

In Australia, there's a seemingly constant debate about the political landscape and its association with wages growth – or lack thereof – across the country. 

Although Australians are only beaten by Switzerland in terms of the wealthiest adults in the world, there’s an emphasis on the lack of consistent wage growth for those in employment. This discussion on the lack of wage growth has been a hot topic in the country as it’s often linked to the stagnation of employment rates

Without an improvement in unemployment rates, it is increasingly difficult for professionals, even in high-ranking positions, to request a wage increase. A stall in wage growth does not necessarily mean that inflation will not occur. In a speech given to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Governor Philip Lowe shared that household consumption grew by 2.9% in the last year.

Over the last few years, Australians have experienced 2% in wages growth each year. However, this figure is down from 3 or 4%, which was the expectation in previous years. With such an increase in consumption, what steps can Australian professionals take to garner fair wage increases while employed in fields that require digital skills?

The Need for Digital Skills in Australia

Traditionally, Australia’s economic wealth came from industries that produced goods for other countries around the world. From construction to major manufacturing, the country was able to support itself and its citizens without relying on technology up until recent years.

However, with an increased demand for digital skills, services, and products on a global scale, Australians are finally shifting toward providing more digital-based services. According to the Digital Pulse Report, exports of communication and information technology have increased by over 60% in five years.

At the forefront of this increased demand is the need for digital marketing skills. Whether you’re a working professional already in the digital marketing field or are considering a major career change, the time has never been better to shift toward a career in digital marketing in Australia.

Why is There a Demand for Digital Marketing Skills?

Why is There a Demand for Digital Marketing Skills?

According to The Left Bank, over half of companies are looking to hire people with experience in digital marketing. From SEO to mobile marketing to future-forward content strategy creation and implementation, the possibilities in the digital sphere are ever-expanding.

As with many other countries around the globe, there are more and more people choosing to shop, communicate, and take care of daily tasks such as banking and meeting online. Additionally, more people are working remotely and online than ever before in history. With so many people online at any given point in time, many companies are catching onto the fact that they must be accessible and relevant online, too.

To become – and to stay – relevant, businesses must invest in digital marketing to ensure that they are being seen and connecting with their clients and potential customers in a way that feels ‘natural.' For those with the right digital marketing skills, it may even be easier to negotiate or ask for comfortable or increased wages.

A Hays report found that marketing directors in cities such as Melbourne and Sydney can earn $200,000 each year, while similar positions in cities such as Brisbane, Darwin, or Adelaide can expect between $130,000 and $140,000. The main reason for these higher than average salaries can be linked to a skills gap in modern day marketing. If some companies are feeling the impact of not having a content manager or data analyst, they are willing to pay more for experienced and knowledgeable professionals who can help bridge the gap and catch up to competition.

How You Can Take Advantage of the Skills Gap?

With such a gap in the modern digital marketing workforce, many Australian professionals are considering how to make the leap into digital marketing or hone their skillset if they're already in the industry. 

According to a Deloitte Access Economics, there will be a need for almost 300,000 Australian professional marketers by 2021. With a growth rate of 2.2% over the next five years as compared to a 1.5% rate expected in the workforce for all of Australia, there's no doubt that investing in or entering a career in digital marketing can yield positive results in the future.

Since digital marketing is such a diverse sub-industry, how are you to know what skills are being actively sought by organizations? There are a few sectors that can help you differentiate yourself from the competition and become a valuable part of any marketing team, including:

  • Data analytics: Data drives modern digital marketing. Between A/B testing and calculating how to optimize a sales page, analytics specialists provide the information to build best-in-class social media and content strategies.
  • Quality content creation: From writing to visuals, the digital industry as we know it relies on its content. Content is how users interact with a brand or business online, and how they stay relevant in saturated markets. Creative professionals can thrive in a digital marketing career based on either the creation or curation of timely and engaging content.
  • SEO expertise: SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization, has been a critical factor in above-par digital marketing for years. But with characteristics and algorithms of popular search engines like Google and Bing changing so often, the best SEO experts are adaptable digital marketers who have a keen eye for detail.
  • UX capabilities: As we move further into the modern era, websites are becoming increasingly human-centric, and in turn, results-centric. Businesses want people to stay engaged with their website, meaning that they’re willing to invest in User Experience (UX) designers with the ability to develop websites and applications that keep users involved with their product or service. 

Level-Up Your Digital Marketing Career

Level-Up Your Digital Marketing Career

Whether you're a seasoned digital marketing professional or are considering jumping into a creative and rewarding career, the Australian workforce is looking for digital marketing experts that can help bridge the gap between traditional marketing and the demand for online reach.

  • Develop a unique personal brand: If you’re a newcomer into the industry, one of the best steps you can take to find your dream job is to build a personal brand that accurately reflects your personality, taste, and skills. Not only does a personal brand showcase who you are, but your skills in both content creation and curation.
  • Meet the right people: Even when your workplace is primarily based online, it’s vital that you get involved with the digital marketing community both online and offline. From comprehensive online workshops to in-person coffee shop chats with a mentor, developing trusting professional relationships can help you advance your skill set and discover new opportunities.
  • Get certified in digital marketing: For many digital marketing professionals currently in the industry, the reality is that advanced education wasn't as widely accepted as it is today. For both industry newcomers and current digital marketers, getting certification can help you stand out amongst other applicants and negotiate higher wages.

Conclusion

For Australian professionals, already active in the digital marketing field, this gap in digital skills gives you leverage when negotiating for a wages increase. Equipped with a stellar personal brand and certifications of your expertise, you can approach your current or potential employers with proof of how you can benefit their business.

While the Australian unemployment rate may be plateauing, digital marketers are making waves in the workforce. This modern industry provides unparalleled opportunities to new graduates, existing marketers, and career changers alike.

Clodagh O'Brien
Senior Content Specialist