The talent crisis facing the advertising and marketing industries is hitting a tipping point that could prove to be dire if clear steps aren’t taken to make the fields more appealing, according to a recent report out of the ANA Educational Foundation (AEF).
Attracting top-tier talent to the fields has been a topic of concern for some time now, but the conversation around the issue has gotten got louder in recent years as agencies struggle to lure candidates away from the likes of Facebook and Google as well as startups. The lack of female and minority representation has also given the advertising industry a bad rap as of late, a problem that’s led brands including HP, General Mills and Verizon to demand that their agency partners hire more women and people of colour.
The report found that both marketers and the agencies they work with are facing an “unprecedented talent challenge” that’s largely being driven by “a lack of common vision, vocabulary, and perceived relevance among marketers, young professionals, and the schools that are expected to educate them.” The study also found that students are unclear about career paths in marketing and advertising, and whether or not they constitute “meaningful” work.
Overall, the findings point to a large disconnect between students, universities and employers. According to the AEF, universities are struggling to develop courses that keep up with the changing nature of the marketing and advertising industries while still providing students with things like critical thinking skills. On top of that, the changing nature of the industries has led to course work and textbooks being “out of date almost as soon as they’re published,” which means much of what is being taught to students about the subject is outdated and unrelated to management expectations once they actually enter the field.
The rise of digital, social media and data-based roles has also posed an issue for both graduates and employers since the skills required for these roles are continually changing. According to the AEF, “these constantly evolving skill requirements and job definitions have made it difficult for marketers and agencies to define and promise clear career paths to students and prospective hires with any consistency.”
As marketers and agencies increasingly seek graduates with expertise in data analytics and digital capabilities, they’re finding that many of the people who are actually qualified for these positions would rather work for tech giants and consultancies instead. The study points out that companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and the Boston Consulting Group provide “more generous compensation packages to new hires, both in terms of salary and perks” in comparison to their marketing and advertising counterparts.