The Role of the Marketing Sector in the Nigerian Economy

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Employability is determined to be a set of skills and achievements that make one qualify for employment and to succeed in his or her job. The marketing sector is involved promotion and selling of goods and services, advertising and conducting market research. There are multiple opportunities in the marketing sector that graduates seize. This study is aimed at discussing the issues, opportunities, trends, and challenges in the marketing sector, as a way of helping the researcher prepare for the business world.

Employability versus Employment in the Marketing Sector

Employability and employment are two different terms that most people confuse. For instance, there is a body that evaluates the proportion of higher education graduates that are employed to those who are not, six months after their graduation. This is a measure of employment and not employability. Scholars have confirmed the fact that employment can crash in case an economy is experiencing a recession, but employability might rise during such times as people compete for the employment positions.

According to Heffernan et al. (2010, p.33), employability is defined as the possession of traits that makes a graduate qualify for employment. It is how well a graduate’s set of attributes matches the requirements of the labor market. The prospective students expect employability to be the outcome of their years of study. There is a need for the students in the marketing sector to, therefore, improve their employability for them to enjoy the various opportunities that are in the sector.

The Skills Required for Graduates to Secure Jobs in the Marketing sector

The fact that marketing is one of the most popular segments in absorbing graduates makes it essential for the graduates to impress the recruiters since the competition is high. It is therefore crucial for graduates to possess a right mix of skills that can make them outstanding in the job market. One of the essential skills is having an interest in people and a commercial awareness. This is because marketing is all about interacting with people, identifying their needs and meeting them. Having an interest in people, therefore, makes the marketing job much simpler. Also, commercial awareness is key to forecasting economic trends and acting proactively.

Also, having excellent interpersonal and communication skills increases a graduate’s employability. Such skills are supposed to help one in building an understanding of the customer and create as well as meet their needs. The job market also needs creative graduates. Depending on the position that one gets absorbed in, he or she will be required to come up with new solutions as well as new methods of doing things at the workplace. Creativity also helps in coming up with ideas in planning campaigns. It is also a primary key towards innovation, (Wellman 2010, p. 911).

Teamwork is another essential skill that helps marketers to realize synergy in their operations. Marketing campaigns often involve different media and elements, which requires managers, executives and other employees to work together. Being a team player will, therefore, be of significant advantage. Lastly, it is essential for a marketer to possess adequate information technology skills. Marketing is increasingly being conducted online. This calls for the ability to collate, store, analyze and present data using computer technology.

There are skills that graduates should develop outside their studies, (Barker 2014, p,32). Such skills include project management and organization skills. Such skills are required for the organization of events, writing newsletters, managing budgets, among others. Organizational skills can be developed by combining academic life, social life, and part-time work. It is also possible to create marketing skills through one’s hobbies. For instance, if one is involved in sports, he or she can apply academic studies in the same and earn experience.

Gender and Employment in the Marketing Sector

This research finds it essential to address the prejudice that has been in existence concerning gender and employment in the marketing sector. Beliefs that females always do better than males in the job industry have been passed from generations to generations. However, studies have consistently confirmed that both genders can thrive in the job market, (Tamkin and Hillage 1999, p.83). What matters most in employment is the competitiveness of the graduate, rather than gender.

Also, laws have been passed in support of discriminated members of the community. The constitution allows equal treatment of both men and women at the workplaces. Just like the two genders are exposed to equal education and skills development, they both stand similar chances of being absorbed in the job market. Both sexes should, therefore, work on improving their employability.

Challenges Encountered by Graduates in the Marketing Sector

According to a study conducted by Guardian Careers, the primary challenge that graduates are facing in the industry is lack of job opportunities, (Andrews and Higson 2008, p.422). The fact that the rate at which new jobs are created is lower than the rate at which graduates are flooding the job market has led to lack of jobs for many graduates. This, in turn, leads to extended unpaid internships and graduates being labeled as inexperienced for graduate jobs. It is discouraging for a graduate to have gone through years of higher education, earned then necessary skills and on completion, he or she is termed as inexperienced for the job.

In the above-mentioned survey, a quarter of the respondents claimed that the most significant challenge they face after graduation is lack of experience. They also mentioned that sometimes the feedback they get from employers is more frustrating. Some of the graduates also mentioned the fact that some of the internships are taken through friends and families who work in the same industry. However, it is worth noting that the interviewed group found their degree to be a good investment despite the challenging job market. The knowledge gained and skills through higher education were observed to be of great importance even to those running their businesses.

It is worth noting that ninety-one percent of the graduates who were interviewed were of the opinion that employers should increase trainee roles. This is likely to give room for more graduates to have access to the internship programs and other trainee programs. Although the graduates agreed to the fact that the job market is challenging, 42% showed interest in going through further studies as a way of increasing their employability.

Current Trends in the Marketing Sector

Work Experience

It is evident that the level of experience that is in high demand in the job market is from four to ten years for those being hired for the marketing strategy positions (Finch et al. 2013, p.610). On the other hand, employers who are hiring for the project management position require higher levels of talent and skills. However, for those who have no experience, a digital market could be an excellent place to start. Data analysis jobs are also open to graduates who have no experience.

Soft skills are in Much Demand

Soft skills are currently in high demand in the job market, and the likely way in which employers distinguish between qualified candidates when hiring, (Barr and McNeilly 2002, p. 169). The job market needs people with problem-solving skills since they assure employers that one can articulate ideas. Analytical thinking is also a key demand in the job industry since marketers will be required to make decisions on how different products are doing in the market.

Digital Transformation

The modern corporation requires marketers to focus on issues that have to do with business model change, a future competitive advantage as well as the survival of the firm. Technological developments have made it possible for businesses to analyze a cheaper and more accurate way. It is therefore essential for graduates to update themselves with skills on digital market analysis that in most cases is conducted through the social media, Bog Data, among others.

Generating and Using Insight to Shape Marketing Practice

Research has consistently shown an unfolding debate on the role of Big Data as well as analytics in organizations. There has been a raised concern about the fact that while the availability of data is growing in the industry, there is a likelihood of deterioration of insight, (Ho and Hung 2008, p.237). Rather than being concerned with insight, most employees in the industry are concerned with data and knowledge that can help in gaining a competitive advantage. As much as it is essential to make more profits than competitors, it is also essential to ensure that marketers are also concerned with the view of products, capabilities, and assets.

The Development of an Omni-channel World

The 19th century was characterized by back office revolution through activities that were aimed at improving the effectiveness, efficiency, re-engineering, among others. We are living in a century whereby organizational attention is no longer on the back office operations, and neither is it on the physical office layout. The emergence of mobile media has turned out marketing as an always-on communication industry. In the past, organizations’ products were marketed by consumers through word of mouth, referrals and being good brand ambassadors. However, we are living in a world whereby a post from one consumer can reach millions of people within some few minutes. This can only be described as an Omni-channeled world, (Martin and Champman 2006, p.44). Marketers must, therefore, build their online presence since the traditional theories of marketing no longer work.


The marketing sector is rich with opportunities for the graduates to seize. The higher education equips graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge that employers require. However, this study found out that there are soft skills graduates must acquire, other than the ones that they acquire through the coursework. Such skills include problem solving, organization, among others. Also, the graduates should gain experience through internship and management trainee programs as a way of increasing employability. The primary challenge that the graduates go through after their education is lack of experience. It is advisable for those in higher institutions to, therefore, gain it through attachments, which is one of the things that distinguish candidates during recruitments. The marketing sector is currently undergoing trends such as digitization, the requirement of soft skills, the need for insight and the fact that it has turned into an Omni-channel world.


Andrews, J. and Higson, H., 2008. Graduate employability,‘soft skills’ versus ‘hard’business knowledge: A European study. Higher education in Europe, 33(4), pp.411-422.

Barker, B., 2014. Employability skills: Maintaining relevance in marketing education. The Marketing Review, 14(1), pp.29-48.

Barr, T.F. and McNeilly, K.M., 2002. The value of students’ classroom experiences from the eyes of the recruiter: Information, implications, and recommendations for marketing educators. Journal of Marketing Education, 24(2), pp.168-173.

Finch, D.J., Hamilton, L.K., Baldwin, R. and Zehner, M., 2013. An exploratory study of factors affecting undergraduate employability. Education+ Training, 55(7), pp.681-704.

Heffernan, T.W., Feng, W., Angell, R. and Fang, Y., 2010. Employability and marketing education: Insights from the United Kingdom.

Ho, H.F. and Hung, C.C., 2008. Marketing mix formulation for higher education: An integrated analysis employing analytic hierarchy process, cluster analysis and correspondence analysis. International Journal of Educational Management, 22(4), pp.328-340.

Martin, P. and Chapman, D., 2006. An exploration of factors that contribute to the reluctance of SME owner-managers to employ first destination marketing graduates. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 24(2), pp.158-173.

Tamkin, P. and Hillage, J., 1999. Employability and employers: the missing piece of the jigsaw. Brighton: Institute for Employment Studies.

Wellman, N., 2010. The employability attributes required of new marketing graduates. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 28(7), pp.908-930.

September 18, 2023

Business Economics



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Marketing Strategy

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