5 ways to attract and retain top marketing talent

6 mins | Barney Ely | Article | | Retention

Attract and Retain Marketing Talent

Is attracting and retaining marketing professionals a key priority for you? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, almost three-quarters (72%) of marketing employers expect to face strong competition from other organisations when hiring in the year ahead, while two-thirds (66%) believe retaining talent will be the most significant internal challenge.

High staff turnover can mean costly and time-consuming replacement hires – not to mention you and the rest of your team will have to pick up additional workload in the meantime – while consistently struggling to secure the best candidates can mean lengthier hiring processes and more training required for new recruits.

And, with over half (56%) of marketing professionals anticipating they’ll move roles in the next year, it’s more important than ever for employers to hold on to their most valuable staff and stand out against the competition in a bid for top talent. With that in mind, here are our five top tips for attracting and retaining employees…


1. Flexibility is especially important to marketing professionals

Three-quarters of marketing employees say tailored flexible working policies are important to them when considering a new role, according to our 2024 Salary and Recruiting Trends Guide. Some of the most commonly desired flexible working options include remote working, hybrid working, flexitime and a four-day working week. Hybrid working is arguably the most sought-after flexible working style, with 59% of marketers saying they work most productively at home, while 73% wouldn’t even consider accepting a job without it – a much higher proportion than the overall working population (43%).

If your organisation enforces rigid working patterns, this may be encouraging your employees to seek more flexible options elsewhere. To prevent this, listen to individual preferences and try to accommodate where possible. Sometimes, a little flexibility goes a long way.


2. Company culture should be nurtured following departures

When one employee leaves, others are more likely to follow suit. There’s even been a term coined for this phenomenon: 'turnover contagion.' One or two employees resigning can quickly have a domino effect on the rest of the workforce – before you know it, you could have a mass staff exodus on your hands.

Multiple resignations in quick succession can significantly disrupt company culture and dampen employee morale. With company culture expected to be a challenge for almost half (43%) of marketing employers over the next 12 months, it’s vital that a toxic culture isn’t left to fester. To prevent a spell of high turnover, any issues should be quickly uncovered and addressed. A good place to start is to encourage current employees to open up about what would improve their workplace happiness – if there’s a common theme arising, then consider what action can be taken as a result.


3. Set a good example for your employees

The third most common reason cited by marketing professionals for wanting to leave their current organisation is as a result of their manager, with 12% saying this was their main motivator. With this in mind, consider how your management style could be impacting your workforce.

Are you guilty of frequently not fulfilling your required in-office days, or perhaps you’ve made a habit of being a little late to work most days? If you’ve become somewhat lax with your professional standards, chances are your team are following suit. This can result in a less engaged workforce, ultimately at the detriment of retention.

Alternatively, you could be damaging your working relationships with team members if you’re enforcing rules that you’re not adhering to yourself, as having a boss with a “do as I say, not as I do” approach can quickly cause resentment and motivate workers to look for opportunities elsewhere. Ultimately, setting a good example to your team may be one way to improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.


4. Foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace

An organisation’s commitment to DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) can have a significant impact on workplace happiness – and therefore staff retention – for underrepresented groups. Shockingly, almost half (48%) of professionals say they believe their chances of career progression at their current organisation have been limited as a result of their background or an identifying factor. Almost nine in 10 (88%) said this made them feel excluded, while 84% felt angry. Though these statistics cover the whole workforce, as opposed to solely marketing professionals, it can still provide an indication as to where DE&I gaps may be seen across the board.

Meanwhile, over one-third (37%) of professionals have hidden an aspect of who they are for fear of judgement – this increases to 65% for LGBTQ+ employees and 62% for workers with a disability. To improve employee wellbeing and reduce turnover, make sure you’re fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace environment. If you’re unsure where to begin with this, check out our latest DE&I report.


5. Ensure you’re paying market rate

A better salary and/or benefits package would tempt 58% of marketing professionals to move roles. Renumeration is also the most frequently cited factor for those wanting to move roles, with 30% stating this is their main motivator. 

The increased cost-of-living means it’s especially important to be fairly renumerating your staff, or risk failing to attract new hires and losing existing employees to your competitors if they’re offering a more attractive package. Counteroffers can be seen as too little, too late – instead, it’s more effective to competitively pay your workers ahead of them seeking opportunities elsewhere. Take a look at our 2024 Salary Guide to discover the latest market rate salaries across your industry. 

Ultimately, if you’re struggling with employee attraction and retention, don’t assume it’s just a spell of bad luck. More often than not, there will be a greater issue or issues at play – these should be uncovered, and measures should be taken to break the cycle.


We’re here to help. If you’re looking to replace headcount within your team, register a vacancy with us today. Alternatively, request a call back from one of our expert consultants.


About this author

Barney Ely, Director - Human Resources, Hays

Barney joined Hays in 1993 as a business graduate and is now Director for Hays Human Resources. Barney also has operational responsibility for Hays offices across the South of England, placing professionals in over 20 industry sectors covering everything from accountancy and finance to construction, marketing, IT, education and healthcare.

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