Agencies and talent need to find a better connection point, fast

The arts and media industries are predicted to grow 9% by 2018, that’s a lot of talent. So how do agencies get better at attracting the best possible candidates? By securing a better vetter, says Taryn Williams.

Australia is a fierce agency battleground — there are lot of them competing for a limited amount of work, which can lead to pressure taking on an account they can’t service properly. Standards slip and accounts are lost.taryn williams - the right fit - ceo

We all know of at least one major agency that looks to have taken on too much too soon, or the brand that is allegedly trying to get agencies to drop their pants — as AdWeek reported here with a well-known fast food chain.

Beyond this, it is often simply a case of not having the right people to do the job at hand. Finding the right talent takes time, costs money and requires solid industry relationships. For years the media industry has been talking about ever tightening deadlines coupled with a talent shortage.

Skill in numbers just didn’t seem to stack up against the speed at which opportunities were cropping up, or the speed at which brands wanted to work.

Is there really a skill shortage?

A 2015 Seek survey into the advertising, arts and media industry forecast it to grow 9% by 2018 in terms of new jobs created. Broken down into categories, that meant 12% more photographers, 12% more art directors, 12% more media producers, 12% more presenters, 13% more models and 11% more journalists and writers among other fields.

That’s a huge amount of talent required when we are working virtually in real-time and already struggling to find the right people to fill current vacancies.

Chris Brandt - taco bell - EVP

Brandt: “A shift in consumption shatters some of the conventional marketing models”

Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer of Taco Bell Corporation, summed it up effectively in an article for FastCoCreate. “[A] shift in consumption shatters some of the conventional marketing models.

“Brands will become more nimble and will see creative and digital agencies morphing into one as ideas need to be cohesively executed across all channels simultaneously. Content will need to be produced more quickly and efficiently, which has big implications for the traditional agency/brand relationship.”

The industry is in a race to keep up with itself. Hires need to be quick, efficient, and of great quality. The Australian industry relies a lot on word of mouth and reputation, but it may not have the luxury of doing so much longer. Speed of operation doesn’t afford this.

The skill disconnect

We’ve spent a long time lamenting the skill shortage, but we’re looking at it the wrong way. It’s not a shortage, it’s a disconnect. A study by Oracle cut straight to the point: “Technology — including social collaboration — has helped make talent management systems more efficient … Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are good places to start, but don’t stop there. Investigate special interest social media being marketed to specific audiences.”ThinkstockPhotos-unemployment - employment - job - interview

Let’s move on from social media, the share economy is the opportunity we need to move forward and kill the skill shortage. There are two key points that underpin this idea.

Firstly, the success of the share economy in other industries, such as Airbnb, Uber, Freelancer, HiPages, and more. Secondly, the need for trust in a relatively closed industry that is built on relationships. User ratings systems ensure that there is a good chance of knowing what you’re getting before completing the transaction.

Share and share alike

There is proof already that using new share economy technology platforms specifically designed to match talent with need works. Lets take two examples. Topcoder crowdsources design and technology experts and has inked a deal with NASA for talent scouting in the digital sphere. Closer to home, for the advertising industry, there is Tongal.

Advertisements made through linking brands and creatives with Tongal have aired during the Superbowl and it counts Lego Mattel, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and NASA as clients.

In 2015 it made $22.2 million in revenue and over the previous three years has grown 556%. That the platform works is unarguable, yet the Australian industry still doesn’t have something like Tongal for itself.

Even if a brand or agency finds that just a small percentage of the talent available on a platform is ‘top hire’ material, those are still good odds in terms of finding the right fit for the job quickly. At the end of the day this could be the difference to maintaining or losing an account. That may sound alarmist, but it’s a statement of fact in today’s industry.

$10 million reward for a top hire?

The Australian industry is growing too big now to rest on methods of the past to connect professionals in the advertising industry. The sooner we realise this, the better.

Still hesitant to move away from the traditional methods of finding your next hire? Oracle’s sums could help you realise just how much finding the right talent could do for your agency or brand. Hiring a single top performer at $100,000 per annum has the potential to add $1 – $10 million per annum when the talent remains with the firm. That should be enough incentive to start casting your hiring net a little wider.

I don’t believe there is a lack of talent at all. Just a lack of connection between those with a need and those with the talent to fulfil the need. The idea of a lack of talent is simply exaggerated by timeframes which make finding good talent extremely difficult. In a relatively small industry like ours, there is no excuse for not using tailored technology solutions to deeply connect us.

Taryn Williams is the founder and CEO of The Right Fit


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