Back Back

DMEXCO Trend Survey: the shortage of skilled professionals is the hot topic for 2022

Diversity, sustainability, and data strategy: these topics dominate the public debate on digital marketing. But in practice, one particular issue concerns marketers and communications experts for 2022: the shortage of skilled professionals. This finding has emerged from a representative online survey conducted by Civey on behalf of DMEXCO. Next, in second to fourth place, are finding new revenue streams, New Work, and logistics problems.
January 12, 2022

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, it has been increasingly difficult for businesses in all sectors to find good employees. Whether it’s experts in IT, digital, or marketing: many job vacancies cannot currently be filled, and the situation is worsening. 44 percent of all marketers and communications professionals surveyed see this as a key issue for this year. It is even more essential to find employees than it is to develop new revenue streams, for example. Only 27 percent of those surveyed see this as the most important issue for 2022, followed by New Work (25 percent), and logistics problems (24 percent). The survey respondents consider future issues for digital marketing, such as developing a data strategy (just under 13 percent), regulating platforms (12 percent), and green media (10 percent) to be less urgent.

A discrepancy between public debate and day-to-day marketing operations

With regard to day-to-day marketing operations, the communications professionals are primarily concerned about new tools for marketing automation (21 percent), developing direct-to-consumer offers (19 percent), and social commerce (17 percent). The hot topics for the digital sectors, including brand safety, ad fraud, and alternative solutions to third-party cookies, don’t get much of a mention in day-to-day marketing operations: only a single-digit percentage of respondents see these as important issues for 2022 (3 percent for brand safety and ad fraud, 5 percent for cookie solutions). That shows that marketers don’t necessarily have a digital or tech focus – unlike digital managers, whose issues are currently defining public debate.

Even the much-discussed topics of artificial intelligence and machine learning have not made their way into day-to-day marketing operations: over half of respondents (53 percent) state that they don’t use either of these technologies in their businesses. Only 6 percent of them use them extensively.

However, the opinions largely coincide when it concerns the discussion on the transparency of algorithms: 35 percent of respondents think that the operating principles of algorithms should be visible in a democracy. 29 percent would like to see a regulatory framework on this from the EU or Member States. And only 16 percent say that algorithms are part of a company’s business secrets and should not be disclosed.

“Our latest trend survey quite clearly shows that, besides technology, the dominant issue in marketing for 2022 is people”, states Jan Garnefeld, Director Sales & Operations at DMEXCO. “To overcome future problems and challenges, businesses need qualified, motivated employees. Only those companies that find the right strategy to counteract the shortage of skilled professionals will be able to assert themselves as a player in the market.”

And Milko Malev, Director Communications & Media at DMEXCO adds, “Whether it’s fintech, IT, or marketing: the digital sector is diverse and deals with various issues. Marketers often have project management, design, and campaign goals front and center, whereas techies and digital experts apply different KPIs and goals. Nevertheless, as communicators, we must consistently build on our strengths in the digital area and have a holistic understanding of our discipline – that’s the only way we can be successful.”

For this representative survey, DMEXCO commissioned the opinion and market research company Civey, which conducted an online survey of over 500 marketing, communications, and PR professionals between November 18 and December 12.


Image material for DMEXCO is available online at


DMEXCO is Europe’s leading digital marketing & tech event. We are the meeting place and a community for key players in digital business, marketing, and innovation. We bring together industry leaders, marketing and media professionals, and tech pioneers to set the digital agenda. Both globally informed and locally focused, DMEXCO offers an ecosystem with seminars, debates, expositions, and masterclasses outlining the future of the digital economy and driving market value.

In Cologne and online, we set the benchmark as a network and business platform for the digital economy. Decision-makers continue to educate themselves and be inspired, make contacts, and conclude deals. DMEXCO — where tomorrow’s digital business happens today. DMEXCO 2022 will take place on September 21 and 22, 2022.

The German Association for the Digital Economy (BVDW) – with the special participation of the Circle of Online Marketers (OVK) – is the ideational and professional partner of DMEXCO and owner of the DMEXCO brand. DMEXCO is organized by Koelnmesse.

Information, along with photos, videos and original sounds and audio clips can be found at, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.