Christine Pietryla Wetzler

Owner, Pietryla PR & Marketing

PR Consultant

Fractional CMO

Featured Writer

Christine Pietryla Wetzler

Owner, Pietryla PR & Marketing

PR Consultant

Fractional CMO

Featured Writer

New Post

15 Agency Roles It’s Hard To Keep Filled (And Why)

15 Agency Roles It’s Hard To Keep Filled (And Why)

The increasing need for specialized skills makes it more difficult to recruit and hire candidates with the right expertise and cultural fit for agency teams.

Thanks to demanding workloads, rapid industry changes and the allure of opportunities at other firms or in a freelance capacity, certain agency roles are consistently challenging to fill and tend to see higher levels of turnover. Moreover, the increasing need for specialized skills makes it more difficult to recruit and hire candidates who possess the right expertise and cultural fit for agency teams.

It is crucial for an agency to not only retain the experienced team members who help maintain its reputation, client satisfaction levels and overall success, but also to find and bring on board the best new talent who can contribute to the organization’s sustainable growth. Below, members of Forbes Agency Council share the roles their agencies find most challenging to hire for and keep filled. Check out their insights to cultivate an agency workforce that sticks around and grows with the firm.

1. Midlevel Manager

We have found over the years that managers hired from the outside have a low success rate, as they still require as much training as an entry-level position and have had enough experience to have potentially picked up bad habits or “tricks” from other workplaces. More senior hires have a quicker bottom-line impact, and growing entry-level hires into future managers has worked better. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing

2. Growth Marketing Director

While there is no shortage of marketing and social media practitioners, the growth marketing position has yet to mature. As a result, we are finding success developing staff into more growth PR and marketing roles, which will prove to be advantageous in the long term against those firms that silo such disciplines. – Dean Trevelino, Trevelino/Keller

3. PR Strategist

In public relations, strategy is key to client success; unfortunately, few people truly understand how important it is. Many think PR is all about event planning and getting good press. A strategist understands how to make things happen that are transparent and authentic to the brand. Having someone who understands and can speak in the brand’s voice is invaluable to the mission. – Robin Derryberry, Derryberry PR

4. Influencer Marketing Manager

The influencer marketing managers play a crucial role in our agency, but one that comes with its challenges. To find and maintain such specialists, it is necessary to understand the specifics of the influencer marketing market. Moreover, the market is fiercely competitive and continually expanding, with companies vying for the top talent in this field. – Michael Kuzminov, HypeFactory

5. Content Specialists And Strategists

The most challenging roles to fill are content specialists and strategists who have both domain expertise (in our case, the B2B tech channel) and the ability to express it in various forms—from blogs, white papers and email campaigns to social campaigns, sales cadences, data sheets and search engine marketing—in the client’s voice. Even so-called “good writers” are challenged to hurdle this high bar. – Khali Henderson, BuzzTheory

6. Senior SEO And SEM Leaders

Senior leadership roles in departments such as SEO or SEM can be challenging to hire for. People with the skills and experience to lead a department might already be running their own company, or they may prefer to work as a solo consultant. These are appealing and rewarding roles, but candidates for our roles have options to follow equally valid career paths. They might prefer to lead an existing team in an established agency. – Brock Murray, seoplus+

7. Account Managers

The account manager role requires a strong blend of strategic thinking, relationship building, tactical execution and project management. A good AM is able to utilize both left and right brain skills well. – Rory Holland, CSTMR Fintech Marketing & Design Agency

8. Data Analyst

The most challenging role to recruit for and retain talent in is a data analyst. Their expertise in interpreting complex data is crucial for informed decision making in campaigns. The high demand for these skills in various industries makes retention challenging, emphasizing the need for continuous development and competitive benefits. – Scott Keever, Scott Keever SEO

9. Salespeople

It’s really difficult, as an agency founder, to transition from founder-led sales to team-led sales. You start to exhaust your personal and professional networks about three to five years into the agency journey, and then you’ve got to get serious about building a larger sales apparatus. Salespeople get a bad rap, but there is a lot of variation in quality. Bring in a junior and train them up well. – Paul David, Literal Humans

10. Social Media Manager

Our toughest role to fill is in social media. Since it’s a strategic role for us, we need someone who combines creative flair and deep business insight. They must seamlessly integrate into teams and deeply understand varied personas, making recruiting and retention uniquely challenging for us. We’ve found that the skills needed are so varied that it’s tough to find people with all the right ones. – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR & Marketing

11. Technical Talent

Recruiting and retaining top-tier technical talent, especially in emerging technologies, poses the greatest challenge. The high demand for them and the fast-paced evolution of tech skills make it crucial for us to offer continuous learning opportunities and a dynamic work environment. – Blake George, BMG Media Co.

12. Business Development Roles

Business development roles are challenging to fill not because there aren’t amazingly qualified people out there, but because validating past success is a challenge. With other roles, you can pepper the candidate with questions and get examples of past work. With sales roles (unfortunately), it can be difficult to know what is legit and what is a story you are being “sold” by the candidate to land a position. – Bernard May, National Positions

13. Digital Strategy Director

As a digital marketing agency CEO, I can say that recruiting and retaining a digital strategy director is tough due to a scarce talent pool, rapidly evolving digital trends, high job pressure and a competitive market. We focus on continuous education, competitive compensation and a supportive culture to attract and keep top talent. – Muhammad Eltiti, BOOST

14. AI-Based Data Analysts

In our agency, the most challenging role to recruit for and retain talent in is an AI-based data analyst. Their expertise in interpreting complex data using AI tools is crucial for strategic decision-making. The high demand for these skills and the rapid evolution of AI technologies necessitate continuous learning and adaptation, making retention a significant challenge. – Vaibhav Kakkar, Digital Web Solutions

15. Account Director

There is a point, about eight to 10 years into their agency career, where folks often move to the client side or decide to become solopreneurs. The account director level is critically important in an agency, as these are individuals we look to for leadership and even succession. The competition is not another agency, but the option of a different path. – Carol Levine, energi PR Inc

This article was originally published on Forbes.