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Marketing Recruitment & Emerging trends in 2023

Author - Sarah Stewart - MRKTSEARCH

All me, no Chat GPT. 


The job market in GB and NI was quieter in 2023, businesses and workers grappled with spiralling inflation, pushing everyone to be more considerate with any expenditure.


Photo of graph depicting soaring prices with red arrow for cost of living
Cost of living Crisis

Soaring interest rates slowed the mergers and acquisitions market, and investors were more cautious with their capital.

The knock-on effect meant less movement at C-suite level and the functions that typically follow these senior moves.

The higher costs increased activity in the employee market as people sought to optimise their earning potential.


Despite the economic circumstances, knowledge gaps from rapid advancing technologies remained. For any roles with digital focus touch points there are still considerable talent shortages. Availability of talent across the regions continues to be impacted by post-pandemic working preferences (hybrid and WFH requirements), the thriving gig economy, an aging population, barriers to up-skill in the necessary disciplines, and the continued impact of Brexit on the skilled EU workers talent pool.

Yellow chair in the middle with 2 white chairs either side depicting a position vacant or recruitment requirement
Despite cautious market skills remain hard to find

The focus on learning development and retention remained with many businesses switching on to and developing their importance of employee experience, from interview through to progression in the organisation.




Change Intelligence (CQ) and a focus on soft skills including


  • Communication

  • Empathy

  • Collaboration

  • Adaptability

  • Critical thinking


The focus on these has been witnessed from selection process right through to employee appraisals - expanding from the traditional markers of measurement:


  • Job title

  • Years of experience

  • Hard skills

  • Tenure


Photo of a notebook with hard skills and soft skills written on the pages to demonstrate the current hiring concerns.
When were your soft skills last assessed?

Businesses we’ve recruited for naturally recognise the importance of these soft skill attributes, but the bias remains on the older metrics of measurement in GB & NI. The debate around the most effective methods of soft skill assessment rages on. 



Photo of fountain pen writing of the word observations demonstrating what has been identified within the UK recruitment market
  • Increasing demand for salary transparency, and reliable benchmarking data.

  • Sustained demand for flexible working.

  • A spotlight on job adverts that give meaningful context.

  • Greater respect for job seekers, particularly regarding their time investment during interview and assessment. Unfortunately, there have been some regrettable incidents where large companies have used work submitted by candidates without properly acknowledging their contributions, leading to public attention on social media. This is clearly an area for concern and improvement.

  • The demand for an increased focus on mental health and well-being continued, as did the push for greater diversity and inclusion, with an increasing focus on age inclusivity.

  • Employers with genuine consideration and processes that support environmental sustainability and social responsibility also drew increasing respect.




Within the marketing employment sector, the trend continued whereby junior to mid-level marketers are appointed with the expectation of being able to deliver in a strategic capacity while delivering hands-on functions, generally to all parties’ disappointment.


A business man in a hamster wheel to represent marketers in a task wheel of activities rather than strategy
Is the marketing task wheel familiar to you?

Marketers still largely report that they’re overworked and on a task wheel; tending to literature updates, PowerPoint decks, event preparations, proposal updates, website amends, logo tweaks and ‘going viral’ to name a few. The little time left, if any, to revert and deliver against strategy (or create one, in few questionable instances) is naturally causing scaling problems.


Happily, risk aversion towards investing properly in marketing is decreasing. Businesses are gradually realising that marketing is a business generation function (with sales closing this loop), rather than “business support” or a “cost centre”.




We saw momentum in hiring processes for marketing pick up marginally, however there are still too many reports of processes taking up to 2 months to second interview from initial first stage meeting with the hiring business.

Companies that are cognisant of the fact that; marketers who feel valued make for more impactful employees in post, are benefiting from keeping recruitment process information free flowing. Some going further in recognising that the their is real value in nurturing the talent pool with a good experience for future roles.

It's encouraging to see that there's a growing focus on tailoring job functions more thoughtfully, ensuring a better fit for marketers and increasing chance of real impact.




Events for marketing professionals are on the rise and very well attended. Communities and collectives are continually forming, and podcasts ranking high in non-business podcast charts. While there are challenges with economic uncertainties, the marketing industry in GB and Northern Ireland in 2024 continues to have plenty of opportunity.


Photo of a Jetty or Pier and sun in the horizon demonstrating optimism and positivity for the future
The future is right for marketers on the right career path.

The influx of global talent, a focus on enriching employee experiences, the resilience of the Northern Irish job market, and the rising importance of technological skills all point towards a prosperous and potentially rewarding year ahead for marketing professionals committed to their career development.


Keep an eye on our instagram page for upcoming events. If you are in a position to move roles or hire a marketer for your team please get in touch


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