UK plugs e-marketing skills gap with new Masters
The UK-based marketing research publisher E-Consultancy has launched a UK Masters degree (MSc) in Digital Marketing Communications through Manchester Metropolitan University, with the aim of helping to fill a growing marketing skills gap in the internet sector.
The new Masters aims to provide industry professionals and graduates with the chance to gain a formal and internationally-recognised qualification, going some way toward addressing concerns within the internet sector about a shortage of skilled marketers.
First course imminent Manchester Metropolitan University has already started to accept the first group of students for the new MSc (which is split into three parts: certificate, diploma, and masters), with the inaugural course starting this month (June 2007). A second course will begin in January 2008.
Students can pick and mix the areas they would like to study, with topics including all the key internet marketing disciplines: e-mail, search (SEO and pay-per-click), affiliate marketing, online copywriting, online PR, mobile marketing, usability and user experience, and web project management.
Why the skills shortage? According to E-consultancy director of training, Craig Hanna, there are a number of reasons for a skills shortage in the internet marketing arena, including:
- Many traditional marketers have avoided the internet, and have not yet acquired the skills needed to operate effectively online;
- The dot-com crash forced out a lot of junior staffers who might today be mid-level or senior-level marketers, creating a wide gap for people with this level of expertise.
- Many businesses have also been reluctant to embrace the online channel fully, and many employers have not yet equipped key personnel with the required internet knowledge and skills.
- There are still very few internet marketing training options available to UK businesses, so very few online marketing qualifications are on paper.
- Finally, e-commerce is growing at a rapid pace, which is also putting pressure on the existing pool of trained personnel, driving high demand for good people without there being enough to meet the demand. This, Hanna warns, is also causing significant salary inflation.