Spain, the fourth largest economy in the Eurozone, has a staggering unemployment rate of 25 percent. Yet, agencies often have a tough time filling positions. The market is saturated with advertising types. However, it is still difficult to find the right talent—the one that we need for today’s demands.
This phenomenon isn’t isolated to advertising. It’s spread across all marketing functions and many related industries.
Why has this happened? Simply put: Our world has changed drastically due to time constraints, demands and the digital revolution. As a result, we need to think differently. Our strategies need to accommodate to the evolving communication channels such as new media.
The value for people who understand all these new developments and technology is at a premium in Spain and all markets. There is a need for those who understand not only technology but also advertising. In the recruitment field, these individuals are called T-shaped people. In this example, the top bar is their knowledge of technology; the vertical bar represents their ability to work across different disciplines: creative, planning, account management, etc.
So where does this problem start and how does one solve it? My feeling is that education at the university level is key to fixing this problem. Many times students graduate with little to no idea how an actual agency works.
It’s time for Spain to start investing in its youth because, as the saying goes, “They are the future.” And with youth unemployment rate at a whopping 46 percent—the highest in the Eurozone—students are studying and graduating without the proper skills to be hired at agencies.
A first step for this needed investment is internships at agencies. In addition, mentorships are an ideal way to help fix this problem and students are hungry to learn. With an internship, students are provided the opportunity to work, learn, hone their skills and receive university credits. This approach provides great value for students and agencies.
My colleague, Steffan Postaer, wrote about the importance of mentorships. He both rallied agency executives to be mentors and gave warning to Millennials who shrug off guidance from experienced elders. Learning and teaching must be prioritized to nurture talent.
While some agencies may leave openings vacant for months, this should be a wake-up call for not just for Spain, but all of Europe that education in our industry is reaching a crisis point. Agencies need talent that have the proper skills. There is still time, but if countries do not invest now, not only will advertising agencies suffer from talent shortages, but industries in all sectors will too.
Ana Garcia-Hierro is president/GM of gyro Madrid.
Follow her @Ana5Names