Understanding the true cost of taking too long to hire elite talent in marketing and analytics

Need to hire a marketing or analytics professional?

Hope you’re patient:

  • The national time-to-fill average is at its highest level in 15 years. On average, it now takes over 24 working days to fill a key marketing role.1 Time-to-hire is even longer for companies with 5,000 or more employees, averaging over 58 working days.2
  • Unemployment is down – and predicted to go even lower. Forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia predict that the unemployment rate will be an annual average of 5.4% in 2015, before falling to 5.1% in 2016, 5.0% in 2017, and 4.9% in 2018.
  • Skilled analytics professionals are in short supply. McKinsey suggests that, by 2018, we will face a shortage of up to 190,000 people with deep analytics skills and 1.5 million managers and analysts with the ability to make effective decisions using big data.3 Research from Gartner is even more dire, suggesting that, by 2015, less than one-third of the 4.4 million jobs required to support big data initiatives will be filled, due to a global resource shortage.4
  • Hiring competition is on the rise. More businesses are hiring, with monthly job gains predicted to average 250,000 throughout 2015.5

It’s the hottest job market in 30 years.

Andy Miller, President & CEO of BrainWorks, says:

“The hiring cycle is taking longer than it has in decades, primarily due to a lack of talent availability. In some cases, it’s taking employers months to hire elite talent for key marketing and analytics roles. The job market is the hottest it’s been in 30 years – and the stakes are higher than ever.”

Explosive growth. Extremely low unemployment. Lean hiring teams. A number of economic, employment and business conditions have converged to create a “perfect storm” in marketing and analytics recruiting.

What’s it costing your organization?

How much does a single vacancy cost? According to Dr. John Sullivan, a single vacancy in a key role – particularly in an industry where time-to-market is critical – has been estimated to cost between $7,000 and $12,000 per day.6

While it’s important to work in conjunction with your finance department in assessing cost of vacancy for any professional role, the following formula provides one way to obtain a rough estimate of what slow hiring could be costing you:

The Easy Part

Calculate “value per day” of the employee:

  1. Divide your company’s total annual revenue by the average number of employees.
  2. Divide this figure by the average number of days your business operates each year.


$2 billion annual revenue divided by 1,500 employees = $133,333

$133,333 divided by 260 work days = $513 per employee per day

The Harder Part

Weight the relative value of the position.

  1. Partner with functional leaders in your organization to estimate how critical the role is to your business:
    1. Low importance: multiply by a factor of .1 to .25
    2. Average importance: multiply by a factor of .25 to 1.0
    3. High importance: multiply by a factor of 1.0 to 1.5
  2. Multiply the “value per day” (calculated above) by the relative weight of the role.


$513 x 1.15 (sample weighting factor for a mid- to senior-level professional) = $590

In this example, the vacancy cost is $590 per day. $2,950 per week. $12,773 per month.

That’s an extremely high price to pay.

But the true cost to your organization is even higher.

Vacant positions and slow hiring obviously come with substantial hard costs, but their impact goes beyond “dollars and cents.” Consider these other, less obvious costs to your business:

  • Opportunity costs. Vacancies in marketing and analytics can impact every part of the product development chain. The result? Longer time-to-market. Missed opportunities for seasonal launches. Lost revenue. Delays that allow your competitors to “get there first.”
  • Adverse impact on teams. While a position remains unfilled, existing professionals must “pick up the slack” to compensate for losses in productivity, experience, knowledge, leadership, innovation and insight. A vacant position disrupts a team’s focus and ability to function cohesively. Over time, the extra work and stress can lead to lower morale, diminished performance and higher turnover.
  • Lower candidate quality. Slow hiring leads to higher candidate drop-off rates, especially among high performers. Top candidates are only on the market for a short period of time. If your hiring process stalls, savvy professionals will start wondering: Why has this position been open for so long? Is the culture toxic? Is the position dead-end? Even worse, they may be poached by competitors.
  • Negative effect on employer brand. Candidates (even ones who you don’t hire) can easily share their experiences on employer review sites like Glassdoor. So consider things from their perspective. To a candidate, a lengthy or overly cumbersome hiring process sends a clear message about your organization: We don’t care about candidates. Ultimately, candidates’ perceptions – whether they’re accurate or not – can negatively affect your reputation with future applicants.

Competition is increasing. Top candidates aren’t on the market for long. And a protracted hiring process undermines performance, profitability and your brand. No matter what type of marketing or analytics professionals you need, one thing is clear:

You must hire faster, without sacrificing quality.

Use these ideas to shorten time-to-fill by streamlining recruiting and hiring:

  • Revamp job postings. Ask: “Will the posting attract the right people by clearly explaining the ‘WIIFM’ for the candidate, or does it merely list responsibilities and requirements?”
  • Improve interviewing. Ask: “Are our interviewers true brand champions who sell the value and opportunity in each position, or do they just ‘go through the motions’?”
  • Communicate clearly. Ask: “Do we have sound processes for keeping candidates informed at every step, or are we vulnerable to drop-off?”
  • Close the deal quickly. Ask: “Are we prepared to swiftly make a solid, competitive offer once we’ve found the right candidate, or are we still hashing out compensation?”

These questions are complex, and the answers aren’t always easy. That’s where we come in.

Partner with BrainWorks to streamline hiring. And get better results.

Instead of conducting your own search – and paying the high price of vacant positions – work with proven experts in recruiting elite marketing and analytics talent.

BrainWorks rapidly delivers “A-level” leaders, innovators and doers who will drive your future success:

  • We’re industry experts. Our senior practice leaders have extensive experience in the industries they serve and proven success in managing hundreds of searches.
  • We source top talent, faster. We can cut weeks, or even months, off your next hire. Leveraging our deep industry knowledge, extensive professional networks and decades of recruiting experience, we accelerate sourcing and make hiring more efficient.
  • We create better matches. We use our industry and functional expertise to clarify the business objectives, key challenges and growth potential of your available position. We combine this insight with our proprietary Talent Acquisition Profile and Talent Evaluation Process to deliver only exceptional candidates who are an ideal match for your organization.

Over the past 23 years, we’ve developed the expertise and proven strategies to attract, identify and deliver exceptional marketing and analytics talent. What can we do for you?

Hire better. Hire faster. Hire smarter.

Contact BrainWorks today to learn more.

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