by Simon Harle, Dynamaic New Alliances.
No matter where you look at the moment in the industry, there is a severe shortage of true talent!
For the last 18/24 months the lack of digital PM's, AM's, SAM's and AD's has been discussed, questioned and analysed.
Our clients, whether working with us exclusively or with other recruiters, are struggling to find the calibre of people they're looking for. Without generalising too far, this is not a minor phenomenon that we're seeing in one or two agencies, it's happening across the board. Expectations are getting higher, and more than ever we're finding that their ‘ideal candidate' just doesn't exist.
Why is there a shortage at this level?
It seems pretty simple in my eyes: a lack of investment in graduates.
Over the last few years we've seen agencies cut back on the number of grads they're taking on, some even scrapping graduate schemes all together, which has drastically cut the number of people coming into ad land at the bottom of the ladder. I don't believe that there is a shortage of talent wanting to come into the agency – it's simply a lack of investment from all of us.
It seems strange that this is the case; these guys take up a large percentage of which our clients are looking to target, they know the digital space better than many and ultimately they create a fresh and inquisitive culture in an agency.
What can as recruiters do?
Take on board graduates who are interested to learn about the industry. Just this week we have had five people with marketing degrees get in touch wanting us to help them get closer to the market by working with us to gain experience. We'll accommodate this if we spot the potential.
Coach and mentor those who may not be brilliant (yet) to show them how they can improve and excel, we are prepared to take on board this responsibility within the industry to ensure that we are not only sourcing the best talent, but nurturing it too.
What can clients do?
Embrace the next generation of AM/SAM/AD's as it may already be too late for the crop of 2011 at this level.
Invest in graduates so that in five years' time you're not asking where all the great people are.
The days of relying on the network's grad schemes to provide you with the best people have gone. The networks are holding onto their talent and offering them benefits which many of the independents can't.
You need your own people who fit your values, so create and educate those that actually want to work for you. Whether you're a network or an independent; 400 strong vs. 50 people nimble, look for the potential in those that want to be there not just for perfection, a little bit of training and mentoring can go a long way and it will be worth it in the future.
What you mustn't get frustrated by is someone else out there offering your ideal person £5K more to secure them. People are in demand and just like we watched house prices for two beds rise to get three bed valuations, SAM's are getting offered AD salaries because there is just not the supply to meet the demand.
It's also important to remember that by making small changes now, we can prevent this situation arising again in the future, it may sound like an overused cliché but by investing in the kids now you really will be investing in the future of your agency.
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