The AMA Guide to Marketing Job Descriptions and Skills
As part of its role representing arts marketing and audience development expertise in the arts and heritage sector, the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) has produced a set of job description templates for key roles. The guide supports the need to match skills with both expectations and pay. It also seeks to ensure job descriptions are a part of a wider inclusive recruitment process.
Across the sector, there is a lack of consistency between marketing and audience development roles, responsibilities and pay. As the demand for a wider skillset increases the discrepancy between expectations and pay is increasing. Basically, we're often asking people to do more for less. At the same time we're seeing a constant drift of talent at all levels to work in the wider charity and commercial sectors where pay is often more commensurate with the skills expected for the job. As a result we're currently seeing major recruitment challenges and skills shortages.
We've drafted these marketing templates as a practical resource to help you rethink your job descriptions to match realistic and fair salaries to roles and responsibilities. They work alongside our sister guide, The AMA Salary Minimum Guidelines.
Understanding the scope of marketing and audience-centred roles
The functions contained in the term "marketing" span a breadth of activity and specialisms. The role of marketing is to shape the what, how, where and why of organisations, informed by the "who" of their audiences.
- Who are the audiences it works for and with - and why?
- What does an organisation offer its audiences?
- How should it connect and deliver for and with those audiences?
- Where does it do its work - physical locations of activity, online and offline, as well as communication channels
At a strategic level, marketing can add huge value to organisations' impact and effectiveness in working with audiences. Marketing is a broad church with activities in scope ranging from "back end" functions like product development and pricing strategies, to "front end" functions like customer experience and social media management.
The range of marketing roles in the sector reflect this span, and we recognise there are a range of generalist and specialist jobs available. The marketing communications subset of activity alone includes public relations, social media, direct marketing (including emails), and more. Drilling down even further, you find skills like copywriting, data management and legal compliance coming into play.
The skills and scope required of marketing have expanded over the years - but nothing has been taken out of scope to take this into account. Pulling everything together strategically, and integrating it across online and offline worlds, as well as keeping on top of day-to-day requirements can be challenging.
This is in part why we see job descriptions expanding in remit, but rarely see salary or resources expanding to keep pace with requirements.
How the job description templates can be used
These job description templates can be used as examples for different levels of marketing and communications roles within the arts and heritage sector. They are based on research into actual job descriptions from 2021, collated from arts and heritage organisations of different sizes, types and UK locations. 78 job descriptions were used to inform the creation of the templates.
Finding the right template for the role
The size, type or location of an organisation can significantly impact on the level of responsibility and salary for a given role. For example, in a smaller organisation, a Marketing & Communications Manager can be the most senior – and sometimes only – member of marketing staff. They will be expected to lead on marketing strategy, manage the marketing budget and contribute to organisational strategy as part of the senior management team. In a larger organisation, the same role can be part of an extensive Marketing & Communications Team with both a Head and Director above it. Therefore, responsibilities will be different with more collaborative working than independent working required, and a shared responsibility for delivering the marketing strategy which will be devised by a senior colleague.
The templates attempt to balance the variation between real job descriptions for the same role brought about by the differences in size, type and UK location of the organisations who wrote them. For these first set of job descriptions, we've looked at some typical "marketing generalist" roles as a starting point. The intention of these is to help frame what is reasonable to ask or expect for the role level, and we recommend viewing these in tandem with our AMA minimum salary guidelines.
Please use these templates as a guide. Not all information listed will be specifically relevant to your organisation or job description. You will need to tailor the templates and adapt them to your needs, but the structure and content should be a good guideline for setting realistic scope.
The templates can be used to:
- check that the level of responsibility and requirements you are seeking, and the salary you’re offering, are reasonable and consistent with the UK standard for a particular role.
- check what areas of training and development you should be offering your employees at each level.
- inform your own job descriptions – feel free to copy and paste or adapt any relevant information.
The templates can be used to:
- check job descriptions for positions you’re interested in against the templates to see whether the requested level of responsibility, experience and skills, and salary offered, are reasonable and consistent with the AMA Salary Minimum Guidelines.
- identify if you need additional training and development to add to or extend your existing skills
Summary of best practice for writing an inclusive job description and person specification
- Review the language for assumptions, jargon and hidden barriers – think how it might exclude more diverse applicants.
- Review the job description to ensure it is fit for purpose and easily understood by those unfamiliar with the internal working culture of your organisation.
- Question if the job needs to be filled to the skill level of the person leaving, at which they started, or somewhere in between.
- Remove the requirement for paid or voluntary experience in the sector and make it clear that relevant skills and experience may come from a non-relevant work setting or outside work.
- Emphasise the training and other support they will receive in the role so they know it is well supported.
- Define ambiguous terms such as ‘talent’ and ‘passion’ – what do you really mean?
- Review the content of your application form. Only ask for relevant information and experience – asking questions such as ‘do you hold a driving licence?’ can be off-putting.
- Be clear on why particular knowledge and/or qualifications are being sought e.g. “must have GCSE math” could mean “ability to operate a till and enter book keeping data accurately”.
- Distinguish between skill (proven ability to do something) and ability (having the capacity to do something) to include people with less formal work experience.
- Eligibility criteria should be precise and explicit, and ideally you should include 10 or less criteria.
- Be clear about the level of skill or experience needed. Candidates may under-estimate the level required unless you state it.
- Show candidates how each criteria will be assessed e.g. at interview, practical exercise. Make sure you say whether they are weighted differently at different stages.
- Make it clear that essential skills are required for an interview and desirable skills are not.
Summary of best practice for other information to include in your job pack
- Include the salary. Not knowing the level of payment can be a significant barrier to people feeling they either are or aren’t suitable for the position, or that they can manage financially on the remuneration offered.
- State whether the contract is permanent or temporary. If temporary, give specific dates.
- State whether the role is full or part-time and include the number of working hours per week. Is there any flexibility with this? For example, could the working hours be negotiable? Is a job share an option?
- Include the preferred start date.
- Include the job location and state whether it is possible to work from home or not, on a part or full-time basis.
- Indicate that you’re actively seeking applications from individuals who are presently under-represented in the sector. Look to use similar language to the following phrases: ‘We encourage applicants from different backgrounds with different experiences, skills and stories to join us and influence and develop our working practice.’ Or ‘We are particularly keen to hear from people of colour and disabled candidates. All disabled candidates who demonstrate that they meet the essential criteria will be invited for an interview.’
- Include brief background information to your organisation, don’t assume that all interested parties will already be aware of what you do.
- Include a ‘letter of invitation’ introducing the organisation from the Artistic Director or CEO – use the same welcoming approach as you would with your audiences.
- Give detailed guidance notes on the interview and selection process, including interview dates and location. Offer more than one interview day so candidates have options.
- Provide, and invite, telephone support for candidates to check eligibility or job specification.
- Consider holding Open Days as part of your recruitment process to demystify the organisation, the space, and your team.
Considerations for advertising your job
- Where you advertise your positions can have just as much impact on who you attract as the content of the job advert itself. As a sector we can be guilty of posting our positions in places that appeal to certain demographics. Have you considered the Job Centre, local newspapers, and other non-sector specific platforms?
How to make your interview process inclusive
- Pay for travel to interviews, making access affordable.
- Ensure the panel has representation from under-represented groups. This can be someone internally or externally, irrespective of role recognition.
- If possible, offer digital interviews, for example, over Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
- Always interview people who fit core criteria for a job but ensure the group is diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, geographical location, previous experience of working in the sector, age, educational status. Interview all disabled candidates that meet core criteria.
Links to further guidance
This excellent guide has been developed by Creative & Cultural Skills to help employers reflect on how they might currently approach recruitment and offers simple steps that could help a business reach beyond the norm. It supports employers to understand what diversity and inclusivity really mean, and the moral, social and legal implications of truly embracing these.
This guide by UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT) breaks down the recruitment process to help you write a better job pack, to help you remove bias from your selection processes, and offers suggestions on where to post your job ads to reach a wider talent pool.
Practical and inclusive ideas for attracting and hiring great people into customer and donor relationship management roles in the cultural sector. A guide by Spektrix.
Increasing workforce diversity in the cultural sector is key to ensuring a vibrant and resilient future. This recruitment toolkit for the cultural sector created by The British Museum with The Audience Agency is complete with tips and templates to get you started.
Designing a Person Specification
Part of Arts Council England’s Culture Change Toolkit to help employers attract a more diverse pool of individuals
Socio-Economic Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts: A Toolkit for Employers p.26-27
A toolkit published by Jerwood Arts and the Bridge Group to support long-term change across the arts sector by sharing knowledge, providing expert support, and encouraging take-up of an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.
Stage Sight Recruitment Guidance p.1-2
Suggested procedures for organisations to increase diversity in the recruitment process from Stage Sight
Employing a blind or partially sighted person: accessible adverts and application forms Specific tips from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) on the most accessible font, style and format for blind or partially sighted job applicants. Also includes links to template documents.
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