AOP to focus on training needs as 74 per cent of members report unfilled vacancies

The AOP Census 2006, the latest membership survey from the UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP), reveals there is a shortage of skills required by the online publishing industry. Seventy-four per cent of AOP members reported having unfilled vacancies in January 2006, compared with 58 per cent in 2005.

AOP intends to address the shortage in personnel by working with its members to further identify their staffing needs, and with third parties to develop potential solutions to meet demand across the online publishing industry.

Recruitment remains an important issue for many AOP members, even more so than identified in 2005. Publishers rated difficulty in recruitment and retention as one of the biggest constraints on business growth. The healthy expansion of business within the industry continues to create a demand for suitably skilled personnel of whom there is still a limited availability.

The staffing difficulties experienced by AOP members reflect the rapid growth and expansion of the online publishing industry and it would seem that this consistent growth has outstripped supply. Nevertheless, a successful increase in staffing levels underpins the limited resources. This year, 61 per cent of businesses surveyed reported an increase in headcount for their online business compared with 40 percent in 2005. In the last year alone, 429 jobs were created by the organisations surveyed and were further demand to be met, this figure would increase substantially.

The skills shortage becomes particularly prevalent as companies look to fill sales and editorial roles. Fifty-four per cent of those surveyed are recruiting for sales posts while 31 per cent currently have vacancies for editorial staff.

Recruitment difficulties demonstrate the overall growth in the online industry as online publishers require a variety of expertise in order to deliver their content online.

In addition to identifying the skills currently in demand, the research goes on to predict which skills will be important in two to three years time. More than half of respondents (53 per cent) mentioned sales and marketing and 40 per cent anticipated that technical/design skills will increase in importance. Research and analytics are also seen as important skills for the future (20 per cent).
The research was conducted on behalf of AOP independently by research consultancy Fox Insight.

Bill Murray, AOP chairman and managing director of group business information strategy for Haymarket Publishing, comments: "We shouldn't be surprised that as our industry develops at such a pace that there is something of a lag in the arrival of talented, skilled people to help us take advantage. The great news is that there can't be a more challenging, rewarding and dynamic area for people either considering or already developing a career in media than in online publishing. In many respects, our challenge is to make sure we are properly publicising and explaining to the broader employment market just how exciting these opportunities are and just what great brands and businesses they can contribute to amongst our membership."


Editor’s notes

The AOP member companies who responded to the survey employ a total of nearly 4,600 individuals in their businesses. There is a considerable variation in the sizes of the companies represented ranging from just one employee to large companies employing several hundred individuals.
**[Please note, these are only estimates of the actual employment in the responding companies. Actual employment levels are likely to be higher, mainly because of two factors: a) the integration of online and other publishing functions means that it is impossible to give a number of people employed in the ‘online’ business; and b) the high use of freelances, which do not figure in the data above.]

About AOP

The UK Association of Online Publishers (AOP) is an industry body representing online publishing companies that create original, branded, quality content. AOP champions the interests of approximately 160 publishing companies from diverse backgrounds including newspaper and magazine publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, and pure online media. Together they publish around 1,828 products and their websites have a combined active reach of 3 billion page views per quarter, reaching of 68 per cent of the internet population. (Source: Nielsen/NetRatings, quarter ending Dec 05).

AOP presents a unified voice to industry and Government, specifically to address issues and concerns relating to all areas of online publishing. AOP publishes original research, hosts forums, conferences and events, covering a range of topics from paid-for-content, subscription models and data protection, through to copyright, content management, new technologies and audience measurement.

The AOP autumn Online Publishing Conference & Awards is its annual industry event and will be held on 4 October 2006. It attracts the biggest names in online publishing to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry and celebrate outstanding achievement.

Members include: Associated New Media, BBC, BSkyB, Capital Radio Group, Channel 4, CNET Networks, Condé Nast Interactive, Dennis Interactive, The Economist Group, Emap,, Future Publishing, GCap Media, Guardian Unlimited, Haymarket Publishing, Independent Digital, IPC Media, ITV Online, News International, Reed Business Information, Reuters, Telegraph Group Limited and Which?. In addition, PPAi (Periodical Publishers Association Interactive) retains a corporate seat on AOP board: representing the interests of magazine publishers online.


Charlotte Hanson
immediate future Ltd.
0845 408 2031

Published on: 12:00AM on 31st March 2006