Wednesday, 3 November 2010

In search of talent

When it comes to graduate recruitment, my particular bugbears are the City and Management Consultancy. They have the money and the clout to hold big 'loud' events at all the best universities, so they have the biggest visibility by far.

So it's not surpising that we in the creative industries feel we may be losing out on some of the best talent, simply because we aren't on the radar, and aren't being heard. It's particularly frustrating, of course, for the ad industry, within the creative economy, who know a thing or two about communications and, in particular, how share of voice drives share of market!

So it was particularly welcome for the IPA to be approached by fledgeling OxAdSoc to get involved in a student-led initiative to put advertising and its related disciplines; social media, digital, marketing back on the map.

At our maiden event at the Careers Centre in Oxford last night, I argued the case for the creative industries as a more fulfilling alternative to the City or Management Consultancy. "Relative to the City and Management Consultancy they are a force for economic growth and a force for social good. At their core, what unites them is what Will Hutton of the Work Foundation calls 'expressive value'. Ultimately they're about asset creation and organic growth; through tangible products and services or physical pieces of entertainment; or aesthetic pleasure or intangible expressions of brand value and experiences. The creative economy feeds our minds and our senses as well as our pockets."

We painted an upbeat picture of the UK creative economy: "Although it's taken the UK a long time to recognise its economic significance, as a country we're particularly strong in it." We explained that the creative economy is currently 6.2% of UK GDP, is growing faster than the economy as a whole, and contributing to the overall growth of the economy. One third of new jobs in London are in the creative economy.

Of course, there are many different creative sectors. We showed a UKTI 8 minute compilation of '50 years of Creative Britain' to represent them. But, I argued, "Advertising is one of the largest, one of the most dynamic, and it is pivotal to the ecosystem. There are only three sources of funding for the creative economy; the government (your taxes), you (your subscription, cover price, entrance fee) and advertising. So advertising is a force for social good. And it's also a force for economic good."

The opportunities in advertising for quality graduates of all disciplines is huge. There's a creative and technological explosion; democratisation of content brings the need for new business models; there are significant industry challenges for the next generation to solve. "We tend to be discipline neutral in our graduate intake, but at the same time there are definite growth opportunities for specialists with backgrounds in PPE, the social sciences, statistics and network science. Overall, we are looking for diagonal thinkers, who combine creativity with commerciality, and entrepreneurial spirit."

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