Senior marketing executives with digital acumen will become increasingly important to help companies keep pace with changing technology and consumer behaviour, said recruiting group Hays in a report released on Thursday.

"However, these digital leaders are hard to find, attract and retain. As the demand for their skills increases in the future, this talent pipeline will come under even more pressure," said Chris Mead, regional director of Hays in Singapore and Malaysia.

He also noted that the sharp rise in demand for this role has been matched by an equally steep rise in the level of compensation offered, commanding double the remuneration levels of their predecessors.

In addition, big data analytics is also going to be the key in better understanding how customers operate online. Unfortunately, many marketing departments still do not interact well with their IT departments in this regard, Mr Mead said.

"IT and marketing need to invest in Big Data solutions that benefit them both and find a common language from the point of view of customer engagement in the digital age," he said.

He added that overhauling the traditional organisational structure - of having digital positioned as part of the marketing function within a business, responsible for driving the organisation's online presence - may become necessary.

"In the last couple of years we have seen the rise of the chief digital officer (CDO), a senior executive who sits at the right hand of the CEO and is seen as instrumental to the future of the organization

"In many cases, the CDO will be the senior executive handling the fastest growing revenue streams within the business - positioning him or her in line to replace the CEO. CDOs who demonstrate their ability to manage change and transform their businesses could find themselves elevated to the position of CEO," he said.

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