Clients in this sector are demanding more and more from their candidates, which is leading to a dearth of skills in the industry (from Recruiter magazine).
Britain’s media & creative sector doesn’t appear to have learned the lessons of the dotcom revolution at the turn of the century. While web designers with no experience in graphic design were widely sought after in 1999, these days it is candidates who understand social media and mobile technology that are in short supply.
In increasingly tougher economic times, clients want it all digital skills and candidates who understand business a combination that’s thin on the ground. The result is that opportunities abound for individuals that can align their digital skills with the needs of business.
“Everyone in 2000 said they wanted a website and then a couple of years later, they were saying we want viral,” says Mark Begley, head of creative & digital at Major Players.
He told Recruiter: “Digital is still a buzzword at the moment. Whereas before it was a sideline, over the last 18 months, it has become part of the whole mix.
“Now everyone is saying we must have social, we must have a social element or we must have an app sometimes it is not relevant and doesn’t enhance the business. At times it can actually weaken the business.”
But client demand for digital media talent shows no signs of abating, says Caroline Foote, managing director of media recruitment agency Career Moves Group. “Throughout the last year we have seen growth in the demand for candidates in digital media, driven by a sharp rise in the number of publications expanding or moving online.
“The movement of good candidates into the digital sector has created vacancies in traditional media, creating demand from that sector.”
Employers now seek more than just good digital skills from candidates, according to Frances Illingworth, global recruitment director WPP, who says the global marcoms [marketing communications] agency is currently recruiting people with an in-depth digital knowledge and understanding of brands.
“The issues are general to the economy. We are not in recession but it is a difficult time. One of the issues of people who have been brought up in the digital world is candidates are not very familiar with how we look at big ideas within the brand space.”
And with a downturn in the economy and consequently recruitment, the sector has left a lot of organisations playing catch up in hiring sales talent, according to a spokesperson for publisher Emap. “Candidates are rare, due to the lack of investment in entry level roles two years ago. Therefore, there seems to be a lack of a talent pipeline for these senior sales executive roles. True digital skills have always been rare. Due to this we are focusing more on developing from within and progressing people internally.”
To ensure the sector has the necessary skills to equip itself in the future, experience shouldn’t be discarded, according to Dr John Oliver, director, Institute of Media & Communications Research programme, Professional Doctorate-Creative Industries at The Media School at Bournemouth University.
“There are people coming to us, aged 45-50 saying I have 30 years in the creative industries and I have not got that much to show for it.
“We have launched a professional doctorate specifically for the creative industries which allows experienced people to shape their experience and develop new skills and new knowledge based around their day job, making them relevant or setting up consultancy.”