PHD at Squared 2012: Young talent in agencies

This concludes Holly, Tim and Akhra’s internal report for the Squared programme. Make sure you’ve already read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5. We hope you’ve enjoyed the series.

Open: How can the industry best capitalise on youth and give opportunities to young talent in agencies?

The key to the future of this industry lies in the hands of the youth. The youth of today was born into the generation of technology, they have had first hand experience to the technology evolution and in many cases will have a better understanding of it. Having said this, the challenge is being able to attract the talented youth and sitting down with them getting their input and giving them opportunities to be part of the industry and to learn and grow with it.

Some take the view that agencies are traditionally bad at recruiting good young talent, but the industry is getting better at giving opportunities. The most common method of attracting youth to the industry is by employing graduates straight from university and offering apprentices.

The youth’s perception general perception of the media industry can be that it is all about creative advertising (and a lot of fun.). However, when they start working in agencies, they can be surprised when they realise in many cases it is more about excel spreadsheets and preparing powerpoint. The industry is tackling how the media industry is perceived by hosting various programs within agencies, some of which are being led by industry leaders. The aim is to raise awareness of the types of jobs these young people are going in to. It’s about trying to recruit the youth in fields that they are interested in by ensuring that job specs are accurate and a true reflection of agency work in the industry today (which is becoming much more analytical.) Roles need to become more distinguished which will provide a better quality workforce in all departments from creativity to analytics, who are more engagement in their jobs. This will provide a much brighter future for the industry in the coming future.

As important as it is to gain quality graduates, it is equally important to mentor, understand and allow them to express their ideas in a safe environment. This will encourage the youth to feel valued and important to their team and will allow them to learn and grow more easily. Giving youth these opportunities also provides fresh perspectives into teams which can help to solve client’s business problems and encourage innovation.

As an industry, there are various programmes which attract the youth to the industry, such as Creative Pioneers and the Squared programme. These programmes provide unique experience in working with agencies, industry based projects and provide an overview of the industry. These schemes allow the youth to get a ‘foot in the door’, whereas in the past only individuals who meet certain criteria would have only been considered. These programmes allow a unique root into the industry by showing creativity, knowledge and raw talent, rather than looking at degree results and experience. In many ways this provides youth with hope and enthusiasm that not only do people with accredited degrees and experience get recognised, but new schemes open the door for creative individuals that cannot be judged by a degree.

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