W1, We Have a Problem..
When thinking about what to write about as a first blog post on Brand Republic, I toyed with a few ideas. Maybe a bit about each of us and why we started the AdGrads blog in the first place? Or perhaps we should let one our stars tell their stories about how they got into the industry?
But what swayed me was something that happened today. I walked back into university for the second day of my final year, and was guided to the careers service, where I was informed that this week was finalist career week - and over 100 companies would be giving sessions about their companies to students from Warwick, Aston and Birmingham universities.
After a quick question to one of the staff members, I was told that the number of final year students in these three universities was in excess of 10,000, all who had been emailed details of the week and (hopefully) a good chunk of them interested in what life after university entails.
And guess what? Not one piece of literature, not one prospective employer, not one reference to advertising. 10,000 finalists, more than a hundred companies, and nothing from the advertising industry.
In a nutshell, that is why Will, Anton and Alex and myself set up AdGrads, because as hard as it is for anyone to hear the brutal truth about themselves, the industry is not doing nearly enough to help themselves find the best graduates. Not nearly enough, and today was another example of that. There is a gap in the market for educating students about how amazing the advertising industry is as a career choice and why the often obtuse application forms are worthy of their time and effort. If there wasn't a gap, then to be honest, this blog probably wouldn't exist. We are here because there is a problem.
The reality of the situation now is that the advertising industry is not on a level playing field. Banking, consultancy, accountancy et al are a good way ahead in communicating, educating and ultimately recruiting the cream of the graduate crop. Advertising as an industry now has to try and kick start their drive to get the best talent, and that means doing the things they can do the best: getting creative.
Both individual agencies and the industry as a whole have to ask themselves one question: Do we really want to attract the best? If the answer is yes, then go in wholeheartedly and do it. Utilise all the tools at your disposal and get the word out there.
Brand Republic's online careers fair is a great example of how to get things started, as it acknowledges that the internet and all things digital are media that we have grown up with. As we live and we breathe it everyday, adopting these channels to get to us is a wise move. Agencies; use your talent in creating innovative solutions to your clients' problems to help create a solution to your biggest problem, because the gap will only get bigger if things keep going as they are. That may be a bitter pill to swallow for the industry.
But the truth sometimes is.