Europe in crisis but digital jobs remain a bright spot

Smiley Smiley MacbookI’m so tired of all of the depressing economic news. I think we all are. It’s not easy to spend a busy day at work only to come home to news about how the economy is going to hell in a handbasket.

But while I may not be an economist, I am a recruiter in a very specialised area – and I do see things to be positive about in the field of European content and communications. Below are just three areas for optimism.

Growth areas

Firstly, digital content and technical communication are two growth areas that are experiencing a rise in demand as commerce continues to embrace the internet. Yes, that’s right. The need for content and tech comm skills is not going away; the first is exploding and the second is morphing.

On the supply side, the number of digitally skilled workers hasn’t caught up yet. We recently posted about an Econsulancy survey which highlighted a ticking timebomb in digital talent. The truth is, there is simply not enough talent to supply our growing field. That’s good news for job candidates in digital and communication – and good news for us as Europe’s market leaders in content and comms recruitment.

Content strategy

Kristina Mausser is the owner of Digital Word, a content strategy consultancy based in Ottowa, Ontario, and one of Firehead’s favourite people. She sees growing trends, demand and opportunities in these areas:

  1. Mobile & e-commerce content strategy
  2. Content strategy apps and tools
  3. ‘Information overload’ will go mainstream – content strategy will be the solution
  4. Curation will become not just needed but necessary – content strategy again
  5. Content strategy will become a business process

We’ve been covering the rise of content strategy here on the Firehead blog for two years now so it’s good to see its progression as a field and a rise in the number of content strategist jobs being posted. We’ve also seen plenty of overlap with the tech comm sector and how technical writers and editors are extending their skills into content strategy.

Tech comm

Tech comm salaries have experienced a gradual increase over the last five years. To use more readily available American figures, the profession was rated 92nd of all professions in the US in a US Bureau of Labor Statistics report covering work conditions, growth, pay, future prospects and general worker satisfaction. This is a profession in transition and the greatest increases went to these areas of growth: ‘tech-to-technical’ and specialist domain knowledge.

The future of tech comm lies in its ability to adapt to new forms of instruction: web, video, embedded instruction and so on. The biggest growth is in Software as a Service – or SaaS – for example, mobile apps (also read our interview with software content strategist Ray Gallon). There are also new opportunities in wikis and CMS work, as well as other applications of structured content.

Ellis Pratt of Cherryleaf gave a fantastic keynote speech at TCUK11 conference recently, where he described the kinds of technology he sees as growth areas in tech comm’s future. Among these were:

  1. The semantic web
  2. Embedded instructions – even in things so ubiquitous, we don’t believe they need instructions (until we’re stuck and need somewhere to go for help)
  3. Augmented reality – my personal favourite (probably because the name is such fun)

The possiblities are endless; the question about tech comm’s growth and relevance lies in our ability to adapt to the supersonic speed of the growth in applied technology. Hardcopy documents are done and buried.

Where is the talent?

Firehead is at the centre of European recruitment in this industry so we have great employer connections and an enormous bank of skilled talent. If you’re looking for a new job in content or comms, you can register as a candidate with Firehead. And if you’re a hirer tasked with filling a job role or contract, you’ll find more information and contact details on our client services page.

We look forward to hearing from you and creating some good economic headlines for a change!

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One Response to Europe in crisis but digital jobs remain a bright spot

  1. The reports on the economy are based on how we have defined our economies to date, by commodities produced as a result of the Industrial Revolution. While this does look like doom and gloom, when we shift our focus to what is going on on the Information side of things (Information Age) – as you so astutely point to in this article – you’ll see huge opportunities for career growth.

    The Web has been around for a little over a decade. While many companies have yet to explore the intrinsic value of digital information, others are suffering from information overload. As Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, has been quoted as saying: “Between the dawn of civilization through 2003, there was just 5 exabytes of information created… that much information is now created every 2 days.”

    Content Strategy is just the tip of the iceberg. As organizations start to embrace the unchartered waters of “intangibles” as assets (i.e. information), we’ll see the demand for digital information creators and managers increase. This represents a huge opportunity for knowledge workers everywhere.