Sparks from a sparkler

Chasing the Unicorns: The Talent Gap in the Content Space

The content space has evolved over the last several years to include technical communication, marketing communications, various technologies, and even globalization. Content professionals must now be multidimensional and understand larger content challenges while delivering on specific point solutions.

For example, it is important that a marketing professional understand some aspects of the underlying technology to be effective. It is common now for a writer/editor to understand the concepts of persona development and how this needs to perpetuate through the content lifecycle. A localization project manager now needs to understand how content is produced so that he or she can optimize production costs.

A real talent gap exists in our space. In this post I’ll outline current skillset gaps. In my next post, I’ll talk about how we can close the gaps and address the shortage.

Let’s take a look the talent shortage areas by each link in the global content value chain:


  • Professionals who understand the complete content lifecycle. It’s rare to find people who understand multiple disciplines, including authoring, technologies, user/customer experience, and globalization.

Content Authoring

  • Structured authoring
  • DITA
  • CCMS (Component Content Management system) experience
  • Technical writers who understand core components of information architecture and user experience.

Enterprise Content Management

  • This is a big one as there is continuing shortage of technology-specific skills, like in OpenText, Adobe CQ5, Sitecore, and others.
  • Developers who understand baseline user experience.
  • Managers and developers who understand fundamental content strategy concepts.

Customer/User Experience

  • UI developers who understand information architecture and usability best practices
  • User experience/usability consultants who are able to provide preliminary development
  • Analytics experts


  • Technology-savvy people who can evaluate and implement process and technology enhancements that can impact the Global Content Value Chain.
  • Machine translation optimization expertise
  • Expertise in developing approach methodology for culturally targeted communications that go beyond the word-for-word translation (transcreation, cultural adaptation, marketing translation)
  • Individuals who can drive customized approaches to localization support and can champion the internal localization process while leveraging subject matter experts for optimization and business process consulting.

As you can see, there’s a lot of opportunity for education and growth in all areas. As promised, I’ll cover techniques and thoughts on how we can close the talent gaps in my next post.