For years, the industry has talked about the challenges of hiring top young talent to join its ranks. Now, the ANA Educational Foundation has completed an in-depth report on the industry’s job pool and recruitment efforts.
It found what it calls “a looming marketing and advertising talent crisis.”
The report says the crisis is driven “in large measure by a lack of common vision, vocabulary and perceived relevance among marketers, young professionals and the schools that are expected to educate them.”
More specifically, the report cited the digital transformation for altering and enhancing post-graduate career paths, as well as the fact marketers and advertisers now compete directly with technology companies for top talent.
According to the report, expectations are also different for today’s generation of young talent, which is more likely to seek “purpose” in their work and “fun” job environments established by the start-up culture.
The report also states that college and university programs are not keeping pace with the rapid changes in the industry. “Course work and textbooks are out of date almost as soon as they’re published, and much that is taught about marketing and communications is outdated and unrelated to management expectations and students’ actual experience in the field.”
The report concludes that marketers and agencies need to “partner with educators to inspire and prepare the next generation of marketing and advertising leaders.” By doing so, the ANA and the Foundation believe a “wider, more diverse and better prepared pool of talent” can be created to fuel industry growth.
To that end, the ANA/AEF are establishing the “Pathways 2020” initiative. First steps include an effort by the AEF and the ANA to facilitate over 1,000 marketing and advertising executive campus visits by 2020.
In addition, the groups are taking greater strides to engage college professors. The AEF is expanding its current “Visiting Professors” program to ensure at least 1,000 professors will have on-site industry experiences by 2020, including participation in ANA member conferences and committee meetings.
AEF will also create formal “accredited” guidelines and best practices for internships to bring industry consistency in the identification, recruitment and training of students entering the marketing and advertising industry.
“Finding and retaining talent has been a serious problem in our industry for some time,” stated ANA CEO Bob Liodice. “But this pioneering new study has revealed that the system to create our next generation of marketing and advertising talent is strained to a breaking point.
"Immediate action is required, and the AEF has developed the necessary steps to address this critical issue by bridging the gap between the core constituents.”
“Our next generation of talent will be the single most important driver of industry growth,” added AEF President-CEO Gord McLean. “Marketers and agencies must take the lead, but we know from experience that whenever we get together with the academic community, the most important players – the students themselves – benefit.”