Predictions for 2019

1 January 2019 by Sandra Lawler

Predictions for 2019


Sandra Lawler Customer, Data, Digital...

Alternatives Predictions for the Year Ahead

Some thoughts for the marketing, digital and data community as we start a new year.
The outlook for 2019 will clearly be dominated by Brexit

It goes without saying that a no deal scenario will impact the whole of the Irish economy negatively. However, if a smoother transition is agreed, then trading conditions will continue to improve in 2019 for most of the marketing and business communities. Based on our previous studies, sectors that will have the best 2019 will be gaming, construction/real estate, hotel/leisure, education, professional services and healthcare sectors. Motor, pharma/OTC, media, government and logistics, FMCG & drinks and retail on the other hand, are already less positive about future trading and will be those most likely impacted by Brexit.

Digitial and data led disruption to continue 

Brexit aside, organisations will be faced with ongoing digital and data led disruption. They will also need to be increasingly customer centric. In this context there will be good opportunities for marketing, digital, data and customer professionals at all levels, professionals who can directly impact growth.

  • In marketing, demand will continue to be high for those with strategy, insights and innovation expertise, as well as good marketing management and brand management. With Brexit, those at a senior level who can help open and develop new markets will be in demand.
  • Digital will continue to be integrated more and more into the overall marketing function, with all marketers expected to have strong digital skills. That said, we expect to see continued demand for those with specialist skills in SEO, PPC, UX/UI
  • Given huge data led transformation, we expect demand to grow for data science and analytic talent, particularly for those at mid-career level, who can draw insights from data and apply them for business impact within their organisations.
  • As businesses become increasingly customer driven and sophisticated in their use of data and segmentation, we expect to see continued demand for segment managers, product and proposition specialists. 
  • Those with transformation, cultural change and internal communications experience-whether consultants or employees- will be in demand.
  • Demand will remain high for millennial talent, driven by the FDI sector, who will continue to attract with higher than average salaries and benefits. This will have a knock on impact on Irish owned businesses trying to compete for this talent and will also result in the continued high salary and career expectations from this cohort.

Ways of working will continue to evolve

driven by the need for businesses to access, attract and retain great talent and by the demand from professionals themselves who want flexibility, mobile work environments and variety in the work they do.

We anticipate that the gig economy will continue to thrive in the marketing/digital world.  Although less prevalent than the US or UK for now, many people are employed in temporary or flexible arrangements. A third of the marketing community have contracted or freelanced before and we foresee that this will increase, as clients open up to flexible talent solutions as a way of accessing great talent and remaining agile.

For those in employment already, remote working and flexible hours are becoming more and more the norm and we believe this will continue to increase. The preference of flexible working has also become more gender balanced, debunking the myth that it’s just mums or pre-retirees that want to work more flexibly.

Salaries and Benefits will continue to increase

Companies will come under pressure to increase salaries, driven by the market competition for good talent and by rising house and rental prices in particular. Last year over 60% of the marketing/ digital community had some salary increase and we anticipate that this upward pressure will continue. However this will be influenced by Brexit.

More emphasis will be put on tracking and ensuring gender balance in salaries. We would like to think that companies will put equal emphasis on benefits. 2018 saw males getting better benefits across the board than females and sadly we predict that this is likely to be the case when we review it again in 2019.

Movement in the market to continue driven in part by low employee engagement 

There are a number of factors influencing a decision to move roles. Market buoyancy and job security are critical, however, these aside, low engagement levels can be a key driving factor. In 2018 we saw that only 56% of the marketing community rated themselves as personally engaged and engagement levels have been declining year on year. Our research also showed that 30% plan to move roles within the next 12 months.

This will result in movement in the market on the one hand, but also a need for focus on this area in 2019 by both HR and marketing, both of whom are involved in employee engagement and communications.  


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We wish you a great 2019!