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How do you solve a problem like… attracting bright young talent?

In this new opinion series, we ask readers of The Drum – from brands, agencies and everywhere in-between – for their advice on real problems facing today’s marketing practitioners.

This week, we consider the hard time the marketing and advertising industries have been having recruiting new talent. According to the IPA, the sector is failing to sell itself to young people, and while 87% of students and recent graduates are aware of these industries, less than half could name a single agency.

The problem was especially acute among Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) talent. While more BAME respondents were aware of advertising as a potential career than white students, an earlier IPA survey found that the number of BAME staff in the sector had actually dropped over the previous 12 months.

So, what’s the solution? We asked execs from across the industry, from Twitter to D&AD to Havas Media (plus, to make certain we had the perspectives we needed, someone from the other end of the scale – production agency Starstruck Media’s latest runner).

 

 

disha
 
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Disha Goenka Das, Asia Pacific head of business marketing, Twitter 

One of the biggest challenges the industry faces in attracting younger talent is disillusionment. This is an activated generation, who want to make an impact and contribute to larger societal conversations, so it’s important that organisations walk the talk and embrace an authentic ‘purpose before profits’ stance.

Show that you’re committed to diversity by setting some ambitious hiring targets. Create employee-led task forces to address key topics, such as gender parity, sustainability, volunteering and so forth. This generation isn’t driven by conventional economics, but by finding meaning in their work. We should be guided by the zeitgeist of today. 

camilla kemp
 
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Camilla Kemp, chief executive officer, M&C Saatchi 

Our industry hasn’t done enough to get on young people’s radar, and agencies have often been guilty of sourcing talent from predictable places. We must engage with a more diverse range of individuals, who may not have considered a career in communications or had the support to do so.

In July, we threw open our doors to a whole new talent pool with Open House, a free, eight-week online introduction to advertising. Promoting the programme on channels reaching a diverse audience, we soon had more than 1,500 sign-ups from across the globe, with over 700 participating every week. We’re now selecting 15 of the participants to take up placements or positions with us. 

 

naresh ramchandani
 
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Naresh Ramchandani, president of D&AD, partner at Pentagram and co-founder of environmental non-profit Do The Green Thing

To choose one thing to change in the creative industry is an incredibly tough question. But if I had to, I would ask that we keep the climate crisis top of mind, always. When considering the clients we work for and the causes we donate our creativity to. And when considering the composition of our creative industry. Because climate justice and social justice are completely interlinked and we’ll need all voices to create the most relevant responses.

If we keep the climate top of mind, we’ll attract young creatives who want to apply their idealism not just to this month’s job or next year’s award circuit, but to a world that needs imagination of the freshest and most radical kind. 

 

becky skiles
 
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Becky Skiles, partner and chief marketing officer, Deloitte Digital

The one thing I would change in order to attract young talent would be to show them that success has more than just one face. Increasing diversity will respond to that marketing industry challenge I hear so often: ‘there’s no one on the leadership team that looks like me’.

It is also about demonstrating that there is more than one model for success. Climbing the ladder doesn’t have to involve 60-hour weeks, with all of your evenings spent networking at events. You can have a life and a career, and both can be balanced and successful.

 

stephanie marks

Stephanie Marks, managing director, Havas Media Group 

I would like to take away the barriers that continue to make entry into our industry an unlevel playing field and to enable more diverse talent to offer their thinking in order to make us and our work better. That isn’t just about how we market ourselves to young people, but about taking away the challenges that exist once you get offered the role so that you can actually take the job.

From finding solutions to city living through to helping people work happily and effectively in a lockdown, we must allow people to grow and develop in their career with us. We’re excited about what we’re doing across the Havas Village to help tackle some of this as we move into 2021. 

 

trevor cairns
 
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Trevor Cairns, chief executive officer, Love

In my opinion, the question needs to change from: ’What needs to change to attract young talent?’ to ’What needs to change to attract young, diverse talent?’

The design industry still seems to have plenty of young talent, but it lacks diversity. While there are many laudable initiatives taking place to address this imbalance, I’d like to see the key industry trade bodies use their influence with government to elevate the role of the creative industries in schools – especially in under-represented communities. 

gina grillo
 
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Gina Grillo, president and chief executive officer, The Advertising Club of New York 

At The Advertising Club of New York, we are committed to building programming that creates a culture of action and provides opportunities for success to our industry’s next generation of talent. Programs like the Ad Club’s I’mPart fellowship – which provides women from diverse backgrounds a year of executive coaching, industry access and high-level training – should be adapted to company succession and retention strategies. That said, it’s crucial to put the right infrastructure in place and provide clear succession planning, which will not only increase retention rates but will greatly benefit your corporate culture. 

 

stuart heyburn
 
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Stuart Heyburn, head of project management, Adam&EveDDB

Increasing the diversity of entry-level talent is an essential step in increasing the diversity of creative ideas and how we make them happen. We are partnering with The Industry Club’s Marketing Debuts scheme to help find bright young talent for apprentice positions within project management – talent who have the right attitude and a passion for creativity and making things, irrespective of their education and training. It’s this talent who will be helping to lead and shape creative ideas in the future. 

 

jenny nicholson
 
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Jenny Nicholson, group creative director, McKinney 

I’d like to see agencies rely less on the ad school pipeline. When only people who can afford ad school get fast-tracked to the creative department, who gets left behind? There are so many talented storytellers on Twitter and TikTok, but we have to work to find them and be willing to teach them on the job. Programs like AdFutures and McKinney’s partnership with NC Central University, our local HBCU, are also critical. It’s on us to show diverse young talent what they can do in this business – and what the business can do for them.

 

ben ramsden
 
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Ben Ramsden, runner, Starstruck Media 

At 22 years old, I am Starstruck Media’s newest and youngest member. It was only when I started working for it over the summer out of university that I began to appreciate the work involved in creating a meaningful campaign. 

I saw the effort that goes in and the rewards that come out of doing agency work. So my answer to attracting more young talent? Showcase as much as possible what goes on ’behind the scenes’ in this industry. Whether that’s via internships, work shadowing or even just exposing the work that goes on behind the camera on your socials, I think young people need opportunities to acknowledge the skill and creativity that holds this business together. Gift them those opportunities. 

Got opinions of your own? Email me at sam.bradley@thedrum.com to be included in upcoming instalments of this series.

[...]

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In this new opinion series, we ask readers of The Drum – from brands, agencies and everywhere in-between – for their advice on real problems facing today’s marketing practitioners.

This week, we consider the hard time the marketing and advertising industries have been having recruiting new talent. According to the IPA, the sector is failing to sell itself to young people, and while 87% of students and recent graduates are aware of these industries, less than half could name a single agency.

The problem was especially acute among Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) talent. While more BAME respondents were aware of advertising as a potential career than white students, an earlier IPA survey found that the number of BAME staff in the sector had actually dropped over the previous 12 months.

So, what’s the solution? We asked execs from across the industry, from Twitter to D&AD to Havas Media (plus, to make certain we had the perspectives we needed, someone from the other end of the scale – production agency Starstruck Media’s latest runner).

 

 

disha
 
Loading...

Disha Goenka Das, Asia Pacific head of business marketing, Twitter 

One of the biggest challenges the industry faces in attracting younger talent is disillusionment. This is an activated generation, who want to make an impact and contribute to larger societal conversations, so it’s important that organisations walk the talk and embrace an authentic ‘purpose before profits’ stance.

Show that you’re committed to diversity by setting some ambitious hiring targets. Create employee-led task forces to address key topics, such as gender parity, sustainability, volunteering and so forth. This generation isn’t driven by conventional economics, but by finding meaning in their work. We should be guided by the zeitgeist of today. 

camilla kemp
 
Loading...

Camilla Kemp, chief executive officer, M&C Saatchi 

Our industry hasn’t done enough to get on young people’s radar, and agencies have often been guilty of sourcing talent from predictable places. We must engage with a more diverse range of individuals, who may not have considered a career in communications or had the support to do so.

In July, we threw open our doors to a whole new talent pool with Open House, a free, eight-week online introduction to advertising. Promoting the programme on channels reaching a diverse audience, we soon had more than 1,500 sign-ups from across the globe, with over 700 participating every week. We’re now selecting 15 of the participants to take up placements or positions with us. 

 

naresh ramchandani
 
Loading...

Naresh Ramchandani, president of D&AD, partner at Pentagram and co-founder of environmental non-profit Do The Green Thing

To choose one thing to change in the creative industry is an incredibly tough question. But if I had to, I would ask that we keep the climate crisis top of mind, always. When considering the clients we work for and the causes we donate our creativity to. And when considering the composition of our creative industry. Because climate justice and social justice are completely interlinked and we’ll need all voices to create the most relevant responses.

If we keep the climate top of mind, we’ll attract young creatives who want to apply their idealism not just to this month’s job or next year’s award circuit, but to a world that needs imagination of the freshest and most radical kind. 

 

becky skiles
 
Loading...

Becky Skiles, partner and chief marketing officer, Deloitte Digital

The one thing I would change in order to attract young talent would be to show them that success has more than just one face. Increasing diversity will respond to that marketing industry challenge I hear so often: ‘there’s no one on the leadership team that looks like me’.

It is also about demonstrating that there is more than one model for success. Climbing the ladder doesn’t have to involve 60-hour weeks, with all of your evenings spent networking at events. You can have a life and a career, and both can be balanced and successful.

 

stephanie marks

Stephanie Marks, managing director, Havas Media Group 

I would like to take away the barriers that continue to make entry into our industry an unlevel playing field and to enable more diverse talent to offer their thinking in order to make us and our work better. That isn’t just about how we market ourselves to young people, but about taking away the challenges that exist once you get offered the role so that you can actually take the job.

From finding solutions to city living through to helping people work happily and effectively in a lockdown, we must allow people to grow and develop in their career with us. We’re excited about what we’re doing across the Havas Village to help tackle some of this as we move into 2021. 

 

trevor cairns
 
Loading...

Trevor Cairns, chief executive officer, Love

In my opinion, the question needs to change from: ’What needs to change to attract young talent?’ to ’What needs to change to attract young, diverse talent?’

The design industry still seems to have plenty of young talent, but it lacks diversity. While there are many laudable initiatives taking place to address this imbalance, I’d like to see the key industry trade bodies use their influence with government to elevate the role of the creative industries in schools – especially in under-represented communities. 

gina grillo
 
Loading...

Gina Grillo, president and chief executive officer, The Advertising Club of New York 

At The Advertising Club of New York, we are committed to building programming that creates a culture of action and provides opportunities for success to our industry’s next generation of talent. Programs like the Ad Club’s I’mPart fellowship – which provides women from diverse backgrounds a year of executive coaching, industry access and high-level training – should be adapted to company succession and retention strategies. That said, it’s crucial to put the right infrastructure in place and provide clear succession planning, which will not only increase retention rates but will greatly benefit your corporate culture. 

 

stuart heyburn
 
Loading...

Stuart Heyburn, head of project management, Adam&EveDDB

Increasing the diversity of entry-level talent is an essential step in increasing the diversity of creative ideas and how we make them happen. We are partnering with The Industry Club’s Marketing Debuts scheme to help find bright young talent for apprentice positions within project management – talent who have the right attitude and a passion for creativity and making things, irrespective of their education and training. It’s this talent who will be helping to lead and shape creative ideas in the future. 

 

jenny nicholson
 
Loading...

Jenny Nicholson, group creative director, McKinney 

I’d like to see agencies rely less on the ad school pipeline. When only people who can afford ad school get fast-tracked to the creative department, who gets left behind? There are so many talented storytellers on Twitter and TikTok, but we have to work to find them and be willing to teach them on the job. Programs like AdFutures and McKinney’s partnership with NC Central University, our local HBCU, are also critical. It’s on us to show diverse young talent what they can do in this business – and what the business can do for them.

 

ben ramsden
 
Loading...

Ben Ramsden, runner, Starstruck Media 

At 22 years old, I am Starstruck Media’s newest and youngest member. It was only when I started working for it over the summer out of university that I began to appreciate the work involved in creating a meaningful campaign. 

I saw the effort that goes in and the rewards that come out of doing agency work. So my answer to attracting more young talent? Showcase as much as possible what goes on ’behind the scenes’ in this industry. Whether that’s via internships, work shadowing or even just exposing the work that goes on behind the camera on your socials, I think young people need opportunities to acknowledge the skill and creativity that holds this business together. Gift them those opportunities. 

Got opinions of your own? Email me at sam.bradley@thedrum.com to be included in upcoming instalments of this series.

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