In a tech-centric world, is marcomms getting left behind?

Marcomms professionals need to upgrade their skill sets and become more tech-savvy if they want to futureproof their careers, argues the managing director of Thrive PR + Communications.

Last week we heard that the Australian government is committed to helping small businesses embrace the digital revolution. Before that, the country’s opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, and shadow industry minister Ed Husic also announced a pledge to help create 340,000 new tech jobs by 2030, aiming to boost the tech sector's contribution to the economy and build in-demand skill sets. 

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) was quick to respond, welcoming the Labor party's commitment to tackle the tech skills shortage by reaching 1.2 million tech-related jobs by 2030. 

Both join a long list of government and industry leaders pledging to boost Australia’s tech skills, and for a good reason. Technology has pervaded every facet of our personal and professional lives, especially two years after the pandemic hit the world. 

Today, every business is to some degree a technology business. You don’t need to be an IT company to rely heavily on technology or need a workforce that understands how to navigate the digital world. 

This is true for all industries and job functions. Whether you are in retail, education, healthcare, food and beverages, logistics and supply chain, hospitality, tourism, and whether you work in finance, sales, customer service or marketing, having tech knowledge is a must. 

The marcomms industry might not see itself as a heavily tech-driven industry, but technology companies around the globe need communications professionals who can help them tell compelling stories and there are simply not enough people in the industry today who can interpret and talk tech. 

Marketing, communication and PR professionals need to upgrade their skill sets and become more tech-savvy if they want to future proof their careers, and if they want to work for innovative and inspiring brands. 

In the past two years, we’ve seen more and more of our non-tech clients come to us with projects that involve technology to some degree, with the expectation that our consultants will both understand that technology and be able to effectively communicate around it, whether it is via media relations, content-marketing campaigns, thought leadership, social media, or comms to internal stakeholders. 

What’s worrying is that while the need for tech skills is growing, Australians are still unprepared to operate in a digital world. A recent Salesforce study found that 80% of Australians do not feel ready to operate in a digital-first world, with women, in particular, lagging their global peers. 

Here’s the challenge facing the marcomms industry: The expectation from brands across all industries to have skilled talent and take up tech-centric briefs is growing rapidly, but a talent crunch is holding companies and agencies back. The marcomms industry needs to better educate and upskill its people at all levels of seniority. 

Not everyone needs to be an IT engineer but being able to understand how technology works and how the digital world operates is essential.

Find out more about Thrive PR's Tech Academy

Leilani Abels is managing director of Thrive PR + Communications.

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