“Recruitment for digital savvy staff in regional zones including Geelong is a challenge into 2020 and beyond,” says Karl Morris from GOOP Digital.
Ahead of our Tech Talent Debate at Geelong’s Regional Innovation Festival*, we’ve asked expert panellist, Karl Morris to give us the heads up on his thoughts on the supply and demand for tech talent in the Geelong Region.
Goop Digital has been providing online marketing services to clients Australia wide for over 12 years and to this day recruitment of qualified staff remains an enormous challenge. And when I use the term “qualified” I’m not referring to your traditional educational qualities, though this seems to be an improving area for recruitment.
To understand what’s happening I believe we need a brief history lesson and a quick revision of Moore’s Law from back in 1965. (Gordon Moore was the Intel CEO and cofounder of Fairchild Semiconductor).
Without going into too much technology ‘geek talk’, essentially this means that processing power will double every two years and this prediction has proved true since 1965.
As a result of this compounding rapid growth of technology, I believe two areas of society have struggled to keep pace.
Government and technology
Government and schooling. Let’s not get into a government debate, but simply looking at the inability of government to deal with cross-global boundaries and taxation laws is one such example of how governments can often struggle to keep pace with technological development.
How much tax do Facebook and Google pay in comparison to their revenue derived from Australia?
Schooling and technology
Schooling is something different all together.
Traditionally you would be educated in primary school and then high school. In the latter part of high school you may opt out for a trade or possibly continue on to University. Universities were central repositories of education and wisdom with grand masters (professors) sharing their knowledge and wisdom.
This is where the world has transitioned dramatically, and you will constantly see statistics on the jobs that don’t exist yet that school students will be doing in the future when they finish school.
If you have a mobile phone and an internet connection (anywhere on the planet) you can pretty much teach yourself anything. Want to fix the door seal on a Holden LJ Torana? No problem, Google will more than likely have a video with step by step instructions.
Most of the developers that work or have worked for Goop Digital are self-taught, they are self-starters and got in and figured it out. So we have technology education gaps as I refer to them.
Education in marketing (particularly at university level) was traditionally always about brand awareness. TV, radio, newspapers and other traditional advertising mediums, this now encompasses social media. Knowing how to log on to Facebook and post does not qualify you as an online marketing expert. It’s about achieving objectives and outcomes
Intent based Advertising
Intent based advertising really never had much formal education behind it, except when it came to sales. When talking ‘intent’ based advertising think Yellow Pages. When you pick up that book you have intent to make a purchase. Yellow Pages is now dead and it was killed by Google. Google is an entirely new beast and has become a global behemoth. A Forbes report has Google employing some 102,000 staff globally and 121,000 contractors, which doesn’t include companies like Goop Digital that have based our entire business model around ensuring our clients have a commanding presence in Google rankings. With evolution in mobile phone technology and Google’s mobile search capabilities, if you want to know something you go for your phone (or ask Google home).
There are global conferences and a lot more formal education around Google marketing opportunities and Google has created its own academy for Ads. If an 18 year old came to us self-taught and Google Ads certified with a great attitude, they would be pretty much guaranteed a job.
So we have traditional marketing being eclipsed by social media and we have an entirely new generation of intent based marketers (effectively maximising returns from Google), but what about web developers?
I would suggest that most educational institutions struggle with this category. You have IT (Internet Technology) which is not web development. Web development is a weird category, it is coding but a web developer needs to meet the objective of the client and not just code. Simply being able to code a website and put it online does not qualify you as a good web developer. A good web developer needs to also understand how Google works and what they need to do to get the websites they work on to rank highly in Google.
Where does web development fit into traditional education? Should it be lumped with IT or marketing? It should be neither, it needs to be “web development” with streams in coding and marketing and then specifics such as shopping carts and data bases.
What sets digital marketers above all else is data. As we say here at Goop Digital, and I apologise if this is interpreted as crass:
“Without data you are just another idiot with an opinion”
Goop Digital mantra
The difference between traditional marketing methods and digital marketing is that digital marketing is objective, specific and measurable, any wonder traditional media is not coping so well in the modern age.
Employment for youth in the modern age
If you are a self-starter with a great attitude, go and learn from the web. A great starting place is the Google Academy. Or do a search on Google “learn to be a WordPress developer” this is without touching on influencer opportunities or drop shipping and Amazon.
To steal from the great Cecil Rhodes and adapt this for Australia
“You are an Australian (Englishman), and have subsequently drawn the greatest prize in the lottery of life.”
There is opportunity everywhere. A good attitude and knowing where to look is all it takes. Why is it so hard to find these people to come and work at Goop Digital?
Recruitment of digital savvy staff will be discussed as part of the Regional Tech Talent Digital Time-Bomb: Debate & Discussion held in Geelong on 5th September, 2019.
*Harvest has been invited to present on ‘The Regional Tech Talent Digital Time-Bomb: Debate & Discussion’ at the Regional Innovation Summit. This event, held on 5th September, 2019 forms part of the Victorian Digital Innovation Festival. Tickets for our session are $30 with proceeds to Geelong Charity, Elf Squad. Click here to purchase tickets.