The South West is known for being a hub for technology businesses and innovation – but with that comes an increased requirement for digital skills.

“This region has a booming creative sector and therefore the demand for social media skills is high”


And in the week leading up to the much-anticipated Social Media Week, local recruitment agency, ADLIB, has carried out the first ‘health check’ of its kind into social media employment in the South West – with the main finding that local businesses plan to invest heavily in social media over the next year.


Social media boom: a huge 42% of respondents are looking
to expand their social media team in the next 6 months

As well as showing that 42% of respondents intend to hire additional headcount to support digital activity, the findings mirror ADLIB’s own experience; the tech recruiter has seen a 26% year-on-year rise in the number of registered digital marketing vacancies.

Skills shortage

However, 46% of respondents cited that a shortage of skills within the market could hold their business back from success.  Many businesses reported having a lack of understanding of what social media skills their company needs to get ahead, identifying an opportunity for more guidance and training in this area.

The survey also revealed that 55% of respondents felt that there was limited guidance that social media could be a rewarding career path. Respondents cited a lack of support from parents and teachers about opportunities in the sector as a potential barrier to encouraging young talent. The survey revealed that the salary scale for a junior level position is approximately a respectable £20,000 with £60,000 a possibility for experienced candidates.


Social media skills: the biggest barrier to acquiring talent 

An industry full of self-starters, the social media skills of nearly half of the contractor respondents have been self-taught and a massive 91% learned on the job.

Nick Dean, Managing Director and Founder at ADLIB, comments: “This region has a booming creative sector and therefore the demand for social media skills is high. This study reveals that social media’s role in the workplace is finally being taken seriously and that it’s a dynamic, growing sector that’s coming of age and needs an injection of talent to continue apace.”

A region of talent

Although there is currently a skills shortage in this area, things are fast looking up with the South West’s most talented digital diamonds taking part in Social Media Week next week.

The aim of Social Media Week Bristol is to build the national and international profile of the region and support the development of social media skills of businesses and talent through keynote lectures, knowledge building master classes and practical skill-up sessions. The findings of this survey will inform the discussion throughout the week.

ADLIB invites anyone interested in learning more about the survey results to visit innovation platform where discussions will continue.

To find out more about ADLIB and the results of the survey, check out the ADLIB website or follow them on Twitter: @AdLibRecruit and @ADLIBTechTeam.

The findings are based on feedback from a representative sample of 100+ social media professionals from across a broad range of industry sectors. 65% of respondents are based in Bristol and the other 35% based across the South West.

Alice Whale