The Sage Group’s Pulse on the Bay Area Job Market
After a quiet summer activity is picking up in the 2nd half of 2012
Since January 2012, The Sage Group has met with over 400 Bay Area executives and managers and has been in direct dialog with over 500 marketing & business operations consultants. From these conversations we’ve discovered some important trends: we’re still experiencing some exciting momentum, but the road ahead of us is not a short one. While business leaders are experiencing a renewed sense of excitement, possibility, and opportunity, they are also under greater pressure than ever before to deliver results in a state of constant flux, competing priorities, and fewer resources.
Here is a summary of a few key trends we’re seeing across the Bay Area:
- 2012 started off with a bang, quieted in the summer, and is revving back up.
- We saw significant needs for consultants and full-time professionals during Q1 and well into Q2 of this year. However, the summer brought a slow-down in hiring which started to rebound mid-August.
- Ongoing trend toward specialists.
- Our clients continue to seek consultants that have specific expertise. As companies expand their use of technologies, launch new products and continue to drive operational efficiency, the success of these initiatives depends on the support of experts with specialized skills.
- Demand for marketing & business consultants continues to increase.
- 55% of the consultants we evaluated in the past 90 days have had multiple offers and/or were in late stage interviews with more than one company. As of Q2 2011, the market was different, and this statistic was a fraction of what we’ve seen this year.
- Earlier this year our clients were making hiring decisions 28% faster than Q1 of last year – an indication that demand is rising and managers need to move more quickly to secure the best talent. Despite the summer slow-down, hiring managers are still acting quickly to guarantee their access to talent.
- Rates are starting to climb, but are still well below pre-recession norms.
- Rates have increased about 7% since 2010, but are still well below pre-recession levels. We anticipate rates will slowly rise over the next few years as the economy continues to recover.
- Not surprisingly, the skill sets in greatest demand are a direct result of technological innovations including new marketing channels and new platforms.
- Online/web/digital marketing: There is an increased need for experts in social media, online advertising, SEO, SEM and online demand generation/customer acquisition. Channels and platforms are evolving, while social media and online marketing infrastructures continue to become more complex.
- UX & Visual product design: Not only is there a huge talent shortage in this functional space, but companies need experts who can design for a multitude of platforms.
- Web analytics and business intelligence: Everyone is talking about “Big Data.” To get and stay ahead of the curve, most larger companies have or are implementing web analytics platforms like Adobe’s Omniture Suite. Our clients need consultants who not only have the analytical mindset and the technical expertise, but also have advanced knowledge of varying web analytics platforms.
- Product Management: This skillset is in demand across all our clients. Companies need consultants with specialized product experience and skills sets versus a generalist product background. Consultants who have expertise with SaaS and cloud-based products are the most sought after given the ongoing move toward the cloud.
- Project Management: We are finding this skillset in demand across all our clients regardless of industry or size of company. In general, the demand is for consultants with specialized project experience versus a generalist project management background.
Cara France is the CEO of The Sage Group <http://www.thesagegroup.com/> , a firm that provides marketing & business consultants and contractors to leading Bay Area companies. As one of the largest women-owned Bay Area businesses, their clients include 50% of Silicon Valley’s top technology firms, largest banks, and best global brands.