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Ad firms fret over digital talent

When the Ad:tech advertising technology conference hits New York next week, marketers, advertising agencies and recruiters may spend less time listening to the panelists and more time working the floor to find new employees.

business Updated: Oct 31, 2011 20:48 IST
Tanzina Vega

When the Ad:tech advertising technology conference hits New York next week, marketers, advertising agencies and recruiters may spend less time listening to the panelists and more time working the floor to find new employees.

A talent gap is growing between the skills that many new advertising jobs require and the number of people who have those skills. The dilemma is particularly acute for jobs that require hard-core quantitative, mathematical and technical skills.

“There is pain for hiring in digital at all levels,” said John Ebbert, managing editor of AdExchanger.com, a Web site dedicated to advertising technology.

“The marketers, the publishers, the ad tech companies, the agencies, data management companies — they’re all going for the same type of employee.”

“The demand has far outstripped the supply,” said Joe Zawadzki, the chief executive of MediaMath, an ad tech company in New York. “The number of things you need to know is high and the number of people knowing it is low.”

“For me it was like, ‘The world’s my oyster here — what do I want to do?’ ” says Edwin Lee, 40, an economics major at Stanford who has a master’s degree in business administration.

Lee describes his new job as account director at MediaMath, which he got in September, as “helping companies and clients make sense of something they don’t really understand and they hear a lot about.”

With a limited talent pool, many ad tech firms are after the same people.

“Half my job is maintaining a mental Rolodex of people that are at various places,” Zawadzki said.

The New York Times