During too many conversations recently the topic of conversation has focused on recruitment and just how difficult it is to find good people. It hasn’t mattered about the industry or the level of the position that has been available – the problem has fallen upon two main concerns; attitude and ambition.
I’m almost ashamed to admit that after many years of disagreeing with people who have questioned the ambition of the next generation, I have to hold my hands up and agree. I’m just not seeing the passion, enthusiasm and competition that I remember from when I was looking for my first position.
Before we launched Open Comms I would hear people complaining about the hassles of hiring and the headaches of HR meetings but I just thought that these businesses simply weren’t looking hard enough.
I thought then, perhaps naïvely, that if you had a position available which would offer someone the chance to learn new skills, build their experiences and develop their career – while getting paid for it – then you would have people knocking at the door.
I appreciate that many universities still have a somewhat archaic view of PR and marketing, believing that you have to go to London if you want to be taken seriously, but I strongly disagree. Some of the best creative talents are here in Yorkshire and the opportunities within the industry have never been better.
So, where have all the good people gone? Where are the graduates’ eager to learn and impress? Where are those that want to put theory into practice and to get excited about results? Where are those that want to progress quickly and to be the very best they can be in their chosen job?
I appreciate that I suffer from a constant disposition called ‘judging everyone by my own standards’ but there must be graduates and young PR professionals who want to make their mark and to learn the skills that will give them the opportunity to shape a long and exciting career.
I remember when I finished university and after four years of hard graft – and reading far too many academic books – I couldn’t wait to get stuck in and to get my first job. I wanted to prove myself and to show that I had what it would take to become a PR professional in Yorkshire and to be recognised for my work throughout the region. I was however very aware that despite my 2:1 in PR I would have to start at the bottom – and that meant making tea with a smile on my face and regularly taking trips to the local Morrisons to arrange a buffet lunch for my director – who many years later became a client and friend.
With a bit of luck and lots of hard work I moved slowly up the ladder before choosing to start my own business. The sad thing is, I’m not sure that those coming up through the ranks have the same commitment. They don’t seem to want to start at the bottom or to learn the basics which allow you to set the foundations so that you can be the best.
We recently advertised for a PR graduate to come and join our team. We have an excellent client list and because we are a small team we felt that the position would give someone who was eager the perfect opportunity to learn and to develop quickly.
We are a friendly office and although we work hard we have a giggle and are very fortunate to have the best clients – really, they are great! So, where were the CVs, the calls, the tweets and texts?
I wonder if part of the problem is that young professionals are too used to having things given, rather than having to work hard to achieve? Are agencies still as appealing as they used to be – giving a real variation on work and experience – or do young professionals simply want to do the exciting parts of the job and not start from the bottom in order to work up?
If I’m honest I don’t have the answers but I hope that I’m wrong about the talent pool. I’m sure there are amazing people out there who are only too eager to prove that they have what it takes to make their mark on the industry and to achieve exceptional results for clients – I just simply can’t find them.
I would be really interested to hear what experiences other agencies have had and what they are doing to attract new talents.