Answer: While corporations with specific SM marketing objectives were searching for staff, it also quickly became clear that the major Public Relations consulting firms had been staffing up at a frantic pace over the past few years for heads of SM divisions down to junior level account executives. (See separate discussion in Part 4 about the impact of social media changing the mix of services offered by traditional PR firms.)
The opportunity for these new hires to make several job changes in that short time meant they were quickly reaching manager levels based on their salary requirements. Would financial issues be a stumbling block for a move to a corporate position?
Here is a picture of the marketplace. PR firms were not the only ones building SM groups. It was also clear that advertising agencies and global business consulting firms were also seizing the opportunity to create new practice areas. In addition, another category, boutiques (See SM Business Models that I described previously in Part 4) specialized exclusively in social media consulting services were growing. These firms were founded by highly creative, entrepreneurial professionals. Following prior industry patterns, in just a few years many of these boutiques merge with more mature firms with a specific expertise. These major firms instantly solve competitive issues by buying that expertise.
Meanwhile, rarely is it possible to recruit staff from these high-energy, independent firms. The founders commit to investing several years to see if they can succeed. As a result, these talented professionals are no longer available to consider a corporate role.
Now the pace of hiring for these leading edge, early adopter agencies and consulting firms has slowed. The next development in the hiring cycle is on the corporate or institutional side. The hotbed for recruiting SM professionals to fill these posts is from the agencies that earlier in this cycle have staffed their SM practices. Considering Millennial values that focus on the “Now” there is a volatile and approachable talent pool to tap. However, there would be a disconnect as hiring managers struggled to keep up with Millennials’ financial demands and yet maintain parity with current salary ranges