The relentless pace of change in the digital marketing world means it is hard even for those in the job to keep up with change. It comes as little surprise, then, that universities have failed to keep up with relevant, timely courses that suit the needs of today’s digital employers.
A new study carried out by digital recruitment specialists The Candidate, reveals that only 49% of top digital professionals in the £88,000 to £130,000 per annum pay bracket studied relevant digtal courses at university. Instead nearly three quarters (73%) of those surveyed studied literary courses such as English language.
The education establishment however has recognised the need for change and initiatives such as the launch of the Digital Business Academy by University College London (UCL) and Tech City UK last year means that change is afoot.
Investment in education
Brian Matthews, managing partner at The Candidate feels that time and money is now being invested in education in the digital sector.
“Although it might be shocking that those earning such high salaries didn’t attend university, it is actually quite common in the digital sector,” he said.
“Because digital is still relatively new, it has taken time for the education system to implement courses that will really benefit students and mould them into skilled professionals. This is why many senior members of staff working in digital are without the specialist backgrounds,” says Matthews.
In a similar vein The Candidate has set up a partnership approach with a number of universities in order to help students land their first rile in the digital industry.
“Salford University’s JEMSS (Joint European Masters in Social and Digital Marketing) scheme and Manchester Met University’s Agency Life programme are just some examples of universities really making changes to the way they approach the industry,” said Matthews.
However, although he said such steps are promising Matthews pointed out that it will be some time before such changes come through.
“The real benefits won’t be seen until these students have completed higher education and get a job. Therefore, work still needs to be done to help close the digital skills gap that is preventing the rapid growth in digital that the UK should be experiencing,” he said.