Content strategy jobs survey results part 2 – how are content strategists being hired?

In our second survey* post, we look at how employers are hiring in content strategists. (For more on our content strategy recruitment trends survey, see our opening results post looking at who’s hiring.) We asked: What methods are you using to find and recruit content strategy talent? Here are the results from 30 employers based in the US, UK, mainland Europe and beyond.

How-are-content-strategists-recruited bar chart


Word of mouth dominates (for now)

“Our survey responses showed clearly, with 81%, that word of mouth was the most common method of recruiting content strategists,” says CJ Walker, head of Firehead, which recruits across the digital communications sector in Europe. “This is not surprising, given that content strategy is an emerging field and still a relatively small community, who tend to know each other. Although I think this form of recruitment will reduce as the field widens its reach.”

Content strategists need to raise their profile

“What’s new is that people don’t have to be in the same geographical area to ‘know’ each other, since this is a web-based community. It does mean that content strategists have to get involved in communities, show high quality work and insights, and offer help to others to get ‘known’, though.

Social media as a recruitment method

“A relatively small percentage (19%) selected ‘other methods’ and mentioned social media as an additional way to seek out talent. Social media, in its networked way, is the equivalent of online word of mouth, and the cost of posting an ad on Twitter, for example, is incredibly low relative to the time and resource money put into recruitment. However, it can be hit and miss in that it very much depends on candidates being networked with the right people, or knowing where to look and when. Those who did tick this box were using social media in conjunction with other methods.

What does the future hold?

“I firmly believe that the recruitment method statistics we see here will change in the medium-term with a move away from word-of-mouth hiring. Content strategy is a growing field and will soon surpass the old ‘friend-of-a-friend getting you in there’ level of recruitment when it catches on at a more mainstream level.

“As a recruiter in digital communications mainly in Europe, where content strategy is nascent compared with the US, I see it as niche area with the potential for major future growth. At Firehead, we’ve been working behind the scenes to establish a database of content strategists (and content marketers, and brand journalists, and…) who we know are top quality because we know them, and we know what skills and experience they have to match client requirements.

“Finding content talent for a client always comes down to each case being unique and needing a unique solution. Thankfully, Firehead is fortunate to have its own good word-of-mouth recommendations in this area, and we invite both clients and content strategists to register their interest with us, or just have a read through our content strategy resources and blog posts.”

Stay tuned for more survey results on pay rates and what skills boost your employability in the next few weeks.

* Our online survey questionnaire was disseminated via the Firehead blog and social networks inviting anyone in a position to hire in content strategy work, from HR managers to department heads. The survey remained open from 1 March to 1 August 2012. We also contacted a number of recruiters on Firehead’s client list as part of the exercise. The 30 respondent hirers came from a range of countries and backgrounds. Further results will be shared here on the Firehead blog. Firehead is a leading recruiter in digital communications and is based in Europe.

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