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Evolution of marketing skills – by Linkedin’s Diana Daou

How marketing skills have evolved, and what this means for industry veterans and young talent writes Diana Daou, head of LinkedIn marketing solutions ,MENA

Diana Daou, LinkedIn Head of Client Solutions, Middle East & North Africa

It has been truly incredible to witness how skills have become the new currency of the job market. As businesses across industries vie for the best talent to fulfil their evolving strategies, they have expanded their efforts to find the perfect candidate/job match. To that end, the differentiator of the best talent has become skills.

But skills are not a constant, and that is where their power lies. They evolve with industries and businesses to serve productivity and growth. That is why LinkedIn has built our ‘Future of Skills’ report, where we show you the change in skills required for a certain job, broken down by sector and job position.

Where marketing is concerned, the repertoire of skills required globally has changed by 50 per cent since 2015. To put this into perspective, job skills, in general, have only changed by roughly 25 per cent in the same timeframe.

While digital prowess has always been an asset, there’s no denying that the covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for marketers to become online experts almost overnight. The role of marketing has become increasingly data-driven and as social media platforms continue to release new features; marketers are having to keep up.

Skills like SEO, Adobe Suite, and Content Marketing have ranked highly in must-have skills for marketers today, underscoring the importance of technical knowledge. Even more so, the most recent ranking signals the interest of businesses to look for professionals with a thorough understanding of social media marketing, to ensure the wide-reaching impact of their brand campaigns.

What these new rankings also tell us is that, unsurprisingly, with brands having to invest heavily in their online presence, digital marketing is now the #1 skill marketers list on their LinkedIn profiles.

Interestingly, advertising dropped by five positions in 2021, while corporate communications has found its way into the top ten list, which suggests a greater need for marketers to create goodwill and generate trust among stakeholders before trying to generate sales.

In the UAE, the report found that the pace of change has slightly lagged, with skills for marketing managers having changed 25.3 per cent since 2015 vs 30.5 per cent for their international counterparts. However, the importance of digital is clear, with digital marketing ranking at number two and social media marketing coming in at number four.

We can draw two important conclusions from these results. The first is that marketing and digital marketing are no longer two separate disciplines. One simply cannot exist without the other today, not with the emergence of new and exciting online platforms every year and the general public’s voracious appetite for digital content. Marketers who are still clinging to the hope that they can survive without upskilling themselves in the digital space will soon find themselves unable to compete, that is if they haven’t already.

There are also implications for fresh graduates entering the workforce. Those who came from programs that incorporated digital marketing have little to worry about, while their peers coming from a more conventional educational background risk starting off on the back foot.

It’s important that marketers continue developing their skills so they can remain agile and help businesses adapt as we can expect a further change in the industry on a global scale.

The good news is that there are plenty of resources available for both industry veterans and young talent to become competent in the world of digital marketing, and in doing so, position themselves as well-rounded professionals in the years to come.


This analysis represents the world seen through the lens of LinkedIn data, drawn from the anonymized and aggregated profile information of LinkedIn’s 800 million members around the world. As such, it is influenced by how members choose to use the platform, which can vary based on professional, social, and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility.

For each job, LinkedIn identifies the most important skills each year based on LinkedIn’s Skills Genome. The similarity score between the two years reflects both the overlap of common skills between each year as well as the relative importance of those skills for each year.

How similar one skill is to another skill is calculated based on how frequently the skills appear together on a LinkedIn member profile and other member data.

All data represents aggregated information from the last six years. Available occupations and industries may vary by country, as we only include occupations and industries that meet the minimum privacy threshold. For the year 2021, the data used only represents skills added up to November 2021 and does not represent the complete year.