Jun 21, 2022 - Technology

LinkedIn CEO sees a decline in creative ad skills

LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky. Photo courtesy of LinkedIn

The share of creative skills within the advertising industry has decreased by 17% over the past five years​, LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky said in a speech at the annual Cannes Lions creative festival in France Tuesday.

Why it matters: In prioritizing tech and data skills at the expense of creative ones, the sector has lost more talent than it has gained relative to other industries.

By the numbers: The advertising industry lost 5.5% more people than it has gained in the past five years, whereas the tech industry has gained 23% more people than it has lost in that time span.

  • Similarly, there's been a 32% decline in the share of creative skills, like design, creative strategy and branding, in that time across the ad industry, compared to a 47% increase in tech skills, like coding.
  • "​In the ad industry in 2015, for every creative role hired, there was one technical role hired. In 2021, for every creative role hired, 1.25 technical roles were hired," he said.

Yes, but: While some marketers see this evolution as a natural response to the digitization of business and life, Roslansky said in over-indexing on tech skills, the advertising sector will continue to lose sight of important business opportunities.

  • Specifically, he said, the most significant business opportunity for the advertising industry is to better serve a quickly growing subset of B2B companies that need creativity to make their brands as relevant as some of the most storied consumer companies, like Nike and Coca-Cola.

The big picture: "For the advertising industry, these emerging B2B, or enterprise, categories are where the next generation of transformational growth is going to come from​," Roslansky said, noting that out of the ten most successful tech IPOs last year, "all but one was a pure B2B business."

  • The biggest brands of today, he said, "are already so big, it's hard to improve the promise they are making," which limits opportunities for the advertising sector to grow.

Bottom line: "There has been a shift in what matters in this industry," he said, adding that "the clients who will deliver the next generation of growth will look very different from the biggest brands you work with today," and those brands need creative guidance as much as tech expertise.

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