Here are the marketing roles in highest demand in 2021

Though marketing budgets are often among the first to be slashed during financial downturns, the worst of the pandemic’s economic impact seems to be behind us.

Marketing departments are hiring and spending again. 

At Freeman+Leonard, we’re seeing dramatic increases in new orders for talent placements from clients compared to three to six months ago, across a wide range of employers in a variety of categories.

Marketing talent is more in demand than ever before, but business priorities have shifted — and therefore, so have the roles employers are hiring for.

Demand for certain marketing roles is increasing more than others.

The following four areas are showing the greatest growth among our clients:


Many companies were forced by the pandemic to expedite their digital transformation plans, or even pivot to new business models. Quick decisions were required despite incredible uncertainty.

So, it’s little wonder that digital expertise, with an emphasis on the analytical, would now be prized by marketing hiring managers. Armed with technology and current data, informed decisions can be made quickly, powering greater agility no matter what the future holds.

Job titles for these roles include the following disciplines: Digital Strategy, Digital Analytics, Web Analytics, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, Marketing Analytics, Paid Social Strategy, Paid Search, Media Planning, UX/UI Design.

PR and Crisis Communications

There’s nothing quite like being thrust into a 12-month-long crisis, including the deepest economic slide since the Great Depression, to highlight any gaps in a company’s communications skillset.

Managing a brand’s reputation with the public and its relationships with the media requires a delicate touch and specialized expertise even in the best of times. Public relations pros with crisis communications experience are  in demand more than ever.

Job titles for these roles include the following disciplines: Corporate Communications, Marketing Communications, Media Relations, Public Relations, Publicity, Investor Relations, Account Management (PR agencies).

Social Media Strategy and Content

Even before the pandemic, most companies recognized that a relevant and current social media presence was no longer optional. In the months since, social platforms have become more significant, with more customers even turning to them first for up-to-date information about the businesses they intend to visit or buy from.

Meanwhile over the past year, time spent online and on social media has skyrocketed. Video-first platforms like TikTok provide more creative opportunities to connect with consumers and reach them where they are: on their phones.

Strategic social media experts who can connect the dots between business goals, consumer expectations and these social media trends are in high demand among our clients, as are the content creators who bring those strategies to life.

Job titles for these roles include these disciplines: Social Strategy, Content Marketing, Community Management, Social Media Management, Creative Strategy, Design, Copywriting.

Email Marketing and Ecommerce

Email marketing is no longer about sending one-off newsletters or campaigns; it’s about managing an entire customer relationship via advanced marketing automation platforms.

For ecommerce, whose sales growth was apparently accelerated by pandemic restrictions rather than hindered by them, marketing automation platforms can be powerful tools for driving sales and revenue.

Demand for marketers with strong expertise in this area (and a scientific approach to attribution and measurement) is still growing among our client base, even as restrictions ease.

These job titles are likely to be in these areas, among others: CRM, eCommerce, Marketing Automation, Demand Generation, Marketing Operations, Email Marketing, Web Development, Performance Marketing, Revenue Marketing

Contract rates and salaries are also rising for marketers with strong digital experience.

According to Freeman+Leonard’s database and placement history, digital, UX and eCommerce expert contract rates are increasing 1-3% per hour each quarter. 

This is causing an increase in full-time salaries for these roles approximately every 12 months above the 3+% cost of living increase.

We’re seeing dramatically increased marketing salary averages especially in our home base of Dallas, which has seen significant growth of new companies relocating their headquarters to the area. And fortunately, these higher salaries are holding, even during the pandemic.

Marketers are increasingly expected to be data-driven, multi-skilled, and able to think quickly on their feet.

Based on the demand we’re seeing for roles focused heavily on digital marketing, analytics, crisis communications and ecommerce, it seems clear that the pandemic has only sped up an existing trend:

More and more, marketing teams are expected to be able to confidently make quick, informed, data-driven decisions, and to connect the dots from their own work to real revenue and business results.

Fortunately, this is more possible than ever before thanks to marketing technology with robust analytics capabilities.

We predict that marketing’s strengthened role in driving attributable revenue (and protecting brand reputations in volatile times) will elevate its perceived importance among business leaders and other internal departments. That can only bode well for the next time the economy forces companies to take a hard look at their budgets.

In this latest surge in demand, we’re also seeing an increase in hybrid requests, with companies seeking candidates who offer multiple skills. 

For instance, we’re seeing more requests for UX/UI designers-in-one, or project managers with design skills. This could also look like an account director with extensive video knowledge, or a creative director who can hands-on design and write full copy.

Many of the marketers we know are already multi-passionate and multi-talented, so consider this your cue to bring your full talents to the table!

And for those less analytically or digitally inclined, keep in mind that marketers of all focus areas and backgrounds — even creatives — can use these insights to stay competitive in today’s marketplace:

Document your wins early and often, and focus your résumés on quantified results, rather than on regurgitated job descriptions.

Ready to make your next move? Submit your résumé or portfolio to today.