Regardless of disruption, media agency success still relies on the quality of team talent

Advertising lecturer Julieann Brooker visited the annual Media Federation professional lectures to talk about filling the talent gap in the Media sector. Here is what she uncovered:

The Media industry in Australia is small but dynamic. Driven by some highly experienced players, they recognise the value of recruiting local graduate talent, then training and retaining them. When you hear from the best that the industry is “crying out for great diverse talent”, it’s definitely a segment of industry for consideration by our Macleay Advertising graduates.

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Greg Graham, Business Development & Marketing Officer of Group M boasts 40+ years in advertising, having worked for several high profile creative agencies including DDB, Burnett’s and JWT. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Sparrow’, Greg’s first job was in the mailroom, which enabled him to meet and quiz everyone he encountered. He notes his willingness to help, his initiative and at times annoying curiosity all played a role in working his way up the agency ladder.

Greg lists six talent attributes that make the perfect media agency recruit. He/she will be:

1) Smart and curious

2) Tech savvy, with a start up attitude

3) Eager to collaborate

4) Passionate and able to embrace innovation

5) Adaptable and resilient, welcoming change

6) A good listener who values feedback.

“Greg’s 6” are ideal attributes for all candidates in business, not only highly sought after in the Media industry. With the growth in automation, we heard that every job would require creative application to solve problems. The implication for media roles? No one will have the luxury of being left or right brain. Grads will be expected to solve problems creatively. Pauly Grant of ZenithOptimedia agrees it is a changed environment requiring “agile T-Bar talent”.

As all high paced solution driven businesses, the greatest disruption in media and talent selection has been technology. Kate O’Ryan-Roeder: “Moving into automation allows us to ride innovation. We need innovators and inventors working in a technological space… [Media agencies] will have to move from a fixed to more fluid organisational structure… The modern agency is demanding a lot of specialists.” Kate says Mindshare lists 12 skill sets for ‘social’ alone. She adds, “having said that, there’s still a role for generalists… a grad who lands in a media agency needs basic all round skills.”

David Haddad emphasized UM agency select candidates with “the right cultural fit.” With the rise of automation, graduates need to be equipped with Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills that won’t be replaced by technology. “We hire for EI and teach the [media] skills on the job.”

With a total population of only 3,232, the Australian media industry is passionate and dedicated in nurturing the best talent and making it a great place to work. Greg believes training and development are paramount, and reminds us that regardless of disruption, agency success still relies on the quality of the team talent.

Julieann Brooker, Axis Design Works / Advertising Lecturer

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