Article | 13 Apr 2015

The war for best talent

Posted in Business, Alice’s Blog,

The war for securing the best talent is on going, with no signs of abating. We are not only competing among ourselves, but also against other industries in Britain and abroad. It is obvious that everyone is battling to find and retain the brightest and best talent.

One-way of ensuring our industry ensnares some of this talent is to draw from a broader and more diverse pool. I founded The Work Crowd ten months ago off the back of many conversations with women – some at the school gates – that are highly talented individuals but gave it all up to start a family. Many were keen to get back to work in some capacity, mindful though of their family commitments. I was being asked for advice on how best to go about it. Drawing on these people to work on a project-by-project basis is a good way to start. They are able to take up the slack when a business demands it, without negating their family.

The other way is for us to work together as an industry to change public perceptions of the marcoms sector. Even now, some people see PR, Marketing and Communications as the ‘fluffy’ choice. It is a shame that we continue to battle with this outdated mindset and lose out to the more ‘serious’ or 'career progressing' industries of management consulting, technology scale-ups et al.

Moreover, it is vital that we take work-culture seriously. The way we work and the way up-and-coming generations view work is very different. We need to find a balance in order to remain competitive going forwards. The ‘baby boom’ generation has always put work first – they have ‘lived to work’ and are not keen on retirement. Whereas the younger generation - or Gen Y – aged between 19 and 36 – look for work that adds real value to their life and society. They expect to romp up the promotions ladder and are more likely to flit from job to job – the ‘job for life’ is definitely a goner for them!

Wedged in between these comes generation x – aged 37-53. They can be seen as the pioneers of flexible working and the work-life balance. Managing all these different cultural outlooks can be a nightmare for business leaders.

Continuous professional development and an ever-growing apprenticeship movement are two ways to capture the young and retain those you have already employed. Gone are the days when little or no investment in professional training was acceptable. Nowadays, especially Gen Y, expect to receive investment in their careers.

So, how can businesses implement all this? Firstly, working in a more agile way – with a scrum master driving the projects. Bring in freelance specialists to boost teams and tap into the talented pool of people who can’t or don’t want to commit to a permanent role. Introduce flexible work contracts. If you have identified an outstanding talent, but they want to work remotely or strange hours – embrace this, give it a try – you probably won’t regret it.

Reach out to the next generation – or in other words ‘get ‘em young’. Forge alliances with schools, colleges and universities. Give up some time and go in and sell your industry, it is time we all competed with other ‘sensible’ career choice and finally, introduce a mentoring scheme. And remember – it doesn’t have to be the old mentoring the young – the other way round works surprisingly well too.

Register with The Work Crowd today!