The Mysterious Case Of The Shrinking Mutual Fund, ETF Marketing Job Postings

It’s been a year when 1)the U.S. job market overall has improved and 2)we’ve heard a lot about Silicon Valley’s interest in otherwise Wall Street-bound finance types. Seven months in, let’s talk about you. What’s the 2015 market demand for what you do?

This post is inspired by this week's excellent, uplifting Moz post that detailed the growing demand for digital marketers, content marketers and social media marketers. It led me to wonder about the environment for mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) marketers ready to make a change.

This was going to be a feel-good post, I was sure of it. And then things went south.

Slim Pickings On LinkedIn

First I turned to LinkedIn’s database, which enables the quickest, most targeted inquiry of jobs within an industry. Below are the results of an advanced search this week of “digital marketing” positions in the investment management industry. Wait, 19 positions in all of the United States? 

A search without the quotation marks around digital marketing produces 100 results nationwide but then you pick up positions that simply have a marketing component (e.g., relationship manager, business analyst, fulfillment coordinator).

Digital Marketing Jobs LinkedIn

Maybe go broader than digital? But no, then the number of results for “ETF marketing” (7) and “mutual fund marketing” (4) shrinks. And there's some overlap in those. Again, dropping the quotes produces more results but few of the new results are on-point. 

Mutual Fund Marketing Jobs LinkedIn

This was a surprise. Maybe it’s just a slow week on LinkedIn? I skeddadled over to the Indeed Job Trends search to see what could be learned from hiring trends over time. 

OK, clearing my throat, this is not what I expected to see at all—especially considering the expansion underway of ETF business lines. But hang in there, a click on the Indeed jobs link produces 77 results that include the LinkedIn jobs and others. Well, that's more than 19. Otherwise, you just missed the 2010 hiring boom by about five years.

Do we dare look at the mutual fund marketing results? 

Hey, it's not all bad. Yes, the postings tail off but look at the y-scale—if mutual fund marketing jobs midway into 2015 make up 0.01 of all job postings, that’s still more than the ETF marketing postings (at the risk of overstating, let's call it 0.001). This is to be expected, given that mutual funds still outnumber ETFs. Note, however, that these postings peaked mid-2007, right before the market melted down.

Wait, one more search. What about financial services marketing? Maybe that’s up? A broader category with more job postings? Negatory, looks like financial services job postings have been declining since 2012.

Time to suspect the Indeed Website (when in doubt, there's always that)--do their charts even know how to draw up? Yes, yes, they do, for digital marketing, content marketing and social media over the same period. The following three images are from the Moz post, using a combination of terms.

What Is Going On?

The only possible explanations I can think of:

  • The investment industry is broke and nobody can afford to hire marketers. Except that's not the case. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the asset management industry operated with 39% margins in 2014, close to the pre-crisis high of 41% and among the highest in any industry.
  • No jobs are available because firms are fully staffed with all the marketers they need and nobody wants out. 
  • We are on the brink of a hiring boom, not visible yet but just about to break out. The industry's talent gap is the theme of a few reports I've seen this year, including one from that specifically mentions the need for people who know fintech, big data, risk management media. 
  • Job postings, or maybe just LinkedIn and Indeed job postings, are not a reliable indicator of demand. Is it possible that all recruiting for this discipline in this sector defies hiring trends elsewhere and is predominantly conducted offline or via private LinkedIn connecting? Are most available marketing jobs executive search-level, too senior to post on Websites?

What am I, or the data above, missing about the job market for mutual fund and ETF marketers? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether via comments below or privately via email.