Skills in social media, content marketing, and mobile development can help a young professional get ahead in the ad industry, but which attribute is currently the most valuable?

The million-dollar question of what marketing executives are really looking for in their new talent was posed by the Creative Group as part of a study looking into the hiring preferences for companies in the US advertising and marketing sector.

Results from the study show that web design professionals are the most demanded of them all, with 28% of firms planning on having a new recruit fine-tune their home on the web in the first six months of 2015. Professionals with skills, knowledge and experience in social media are the second most-demanded, required by 23%, while content marketers are sought after by 19%.

Demand for these digital workers is expected to power job growth across the advertising and marketing sector, as 33% of the study’s 200 executive respondents planned on adding new staff in H1 2015.

Demand awaits supply

There is however a huge downside to crowds of companies looking for workers at the same time. Marketing firms may be on the hunt for new talent, but whether they find it is another question.

Alongside highlighting that a third of marketing and advertising businesses plan on taking on more staff, the study also said that 41% of executives believe finding the right people to fill their roles would be a challenge. 

These feelings were amplified among larger businesses, with over 100 employees, where 59% are envisaging issues in finding quality talent.

In terms of the skills and personnel they’re looking for, the results are as follows: