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Career prospects for marketing graduates

GradAustralia

Whether you work in-house or in an agency, marketing is an industry which offers diverse career paths. Here is a brief overview by GradAustralia.

Unless you live in a remote jungle, it is almost impossible to escape the influence of marketing. Marketing is the business of promoting brands, products and services. It takes a carefully crafted message and translates this into effective campaigns to customers. Marketing is powerful stuff – it can influence customer buying behaviour, increase sales and stimulate the economy.

When we talk about marketing, we refer to anything from market research and advertising to media planning, distribution, sales and public relations. Every organisation, across all sectors, needs to develop a marketing strategy… which means almost every organisation needs marketing people. Good news!

Another option is to work for an agency. At the very top of the advertising industry are large holding companies such as WPP, Interpublic, Publicis Group and Omnicom Group. For example, WPP owns at least 39 companies including advertising agencies such as Y&R and Ogilvy and Mather. Similarly, Publicis Groupe owns advertising agencies Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi as well as media agencies Starcom Mediavest Group and Zenith Optimedia. There are also independent advertising agencies, which range from the global, such as M&C Saatchi, to the local including. for example, The Special Group, Cummins&Partners and Affinity.

What is the graduate experience in marketing?

Most larger corporations, as well as some government departments, have graduate programs. Other smaller organisations as well as most agencies typically do not have graduate programs but are always on the lookout for new talent. So, it’s worth approaching each to see if there are any available opportunities.

At an advertising agency, you will be either hired as a ‘creative’ or ‘suit’. Creatives help to develop the copy and graphics of a campaign, while suits manage the client and project outcomes. At a media agency, you will help your team create media plans for your clients and eventually, help buy advertising time and space for them. As an in-house marketer, you may help develop a marketing strategy, work on budgets or liaise with agencies. At larger organisations, you may rotate through the department to focus on a range of functions.

What is common across these marketing roles is a passion for building brands, telling stories and working in a space that is highly-charged and exciting.

Marketing jobs are often conducive to well-balanced lifestyles, though be warned, working on the agency side means meeting strict deadlines and it is common for advertising executives to work long into the night. Be prepared to work under pressure and in a fast-paced environment.

What are your career prospects in marketing?

Most marketers tend to stay in marketing throughout their careers. If you start on the agency side, progression is typically linear and you may aspire to become the head of your specialisation as, for example, a creative director. The advertising agency industry can be somewhat transient and you will find it relatively easy to move between agencies as you progress in seniority.

Similarly, an in-house marketing role may eventually lead to becoming chief marketing officer or other such leadership roles. You will typically find it is easier to move from agency to in-house than vice-versa. It is common for seasoned art directors or account managers to launch their own independent agencies.

In times of economic downturn, marketing budgets may be one of the first things to get slashed, which could have a trickle-down effect on employment. With the increasing trend towards digital and marketing analytics, being well-versed in these areas will help to keep you on top of the game.

Choose this if you have:

  • Creative flair, passion and a desire to create.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to connect with brands and people.
  • A passion for marketing and communication.

For more insight into graduate careers in human resources, visit our HR advice page here.

You can get a headstart on your career by checking out graduate programs and internships here at GradAustralia.