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01 October 2014

A new report by Hays, DNA of a Marketing Leader – coding the pathway to success, reveals the common characteristics, the DNA, of some of the UK’s top marketing leaders.

Together with their shared experience and qualifications emerges a collective concern the profession’s digital capabilities, as fewer than one in five marketing leaders rate their team’s digital skills as very good. Only 15% of marketing leaders rate their own digital skills as very good. 


The DNA of a Marketing Leader reveals the results of a survey of nearly 400 senior level marketing professionals from companies of all sizes across the UK. Despite the proliferation of job titles, such as ‘Head of Global Community’, and ‘Master Storyteller’ roles, good marketing leaders share some key fundamental characteristics. Nearly half of respondents had worked outside of the UK during their career, the majority were aged between 36-45 and 75% held a marketing qualification. 


A quarter (24%) of senior marketers said keeping up with latest developments in digital technology will be their biggest professional challenge in the coming year. Incorporating new technology into their day-to-day approach is a key challenge, as 61% say they will be responsible for integrating new technology into their organisation. 


Clare Kemsley, Managing Director of Hays Marketing, comments, “Digital is high on the agenda for marketing leaders, but our research reveals cause for concern about marketer’s ability to capitalise on the opportunities technology brings. We’re unlikely to see a marketing leadership job registered that doesn’t require digital competencies. It is no longer enough for marketers to have awareness of SEO, PPC and web analytics, they now need to be well versed in all aspects of emerging digital marketing techniques. So to hear that only 18% of marketing leaders rate their team’s digital skills as very good is worrying. The savviest marketers now see digital as an integral part of the marketing mix, present in everything they do.”


Over a third (37%) of marketers said they have no-one speaking at the highest level for marketing in their organisation. The growth of technology to analyse big data may be a route for marketing to take its place on the board, by harnessing data to show how marketing contributes to business strategy, as long as the skills exist to exploit it. 
Kemsley concludes, “When you dissect the DNA of a senior marketer, you uncover someone who is confident, ambitious and has superb people skills alongside core marketing skills including copywriting, creativity and analytical ability. They are almost as likely to be female as male and are highly committed to the profession. Technology is changing the work of marketing every day, so marketers at all levels must prioritise the development of digital skills if they are to become the marketing leaders of the future.” 


DNA of a Marketing Leader findings:

• 74% were aged 36 or over
• 48% were female, 52% were male
• 40% had always worked in marketing
• 48% had worked internationally for more than two years
• 35% had a CIM qualification
• 46% had a degree, with 33% holding a marketing related degree
• 53% expect a greater focus on providing ROI over the next 12 months


For further information or to request a copy of the report please visit:




For further press information please contact:

Eleanor Pead
T. 020 7200 3760


About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2014 the Group employed 8,237 staff operating from 237 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2014:


- the Group reported net fees of £724.9 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £140.3 million;
- the Group placed around 57,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 212,000 people into temporary assignments;
- 24% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 42% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 34% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
- the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
- Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA




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