Recently, Google launched an initiative called Squared in partnership with Hyper Island and the IPA, which aims to train young graduates in the digital media industry to become tomorrow’s leaders.
The first batch of students, which included people from a range of creative, media and digital agencies as well as brands, has just finished the course. They’ve produced a report titled the State of the Industry 2012, which you can read here. I was interviewed by a couple of young people from PHD who went on the course, so there’s a bit from me in there as well, specifically about how the industry can best capitalise on youth and give opportunities to young talent in the industry.
There is a clear gap in progression from entry level to more senior level; people are becoming disconnected as the hierarchical structure becomes harder to navigate. Employees do not necessarily want to job-hop, but in order to avoid the best talent getting enticed by higher pay and more satisfying roles elsewhere, agencies need to make roles more engaging and more of an enriching experience. Arena Media recognise that new starters should be exposed to the business much more broadly and can build relationships across the agency as they progress. This will also avoid young people developing a myopic view of the business. Taking this a step further, Jody Shilliday, Associate Director of Social Ads, Starcom MediaVest Group says that ‘agencies need to be willing to invest in youth, not just financially, but with time and trust’. From PHD’s perspective, Anjali Ramachandran, Head of Innovation suggests that this can be achieved by allocating ‘mentors who take the time to sit down and chat with them regularly…providing feedback on their work so they can learn and grow’.
Neil’s written about the report here, so go there for some background on the kind of questions it tackles before you read the report itself.