Named top employer in media and the arts in 2017, MediaCom is the UK’s biggest media agency. In the first of a three-part Q&A series, its CEO, Josh Krichefski, provides advice on employability and work readiness skills for his sector.
What sort of skills are MediaCom looking for – and are these changing?
There are many skills required to thrive in today’s advertising landscape. From TV, to social media and digital out-of-home advertising, we need both digital specialists and creative minds to work together to deliver truly great work for our clients.
As digital advertising continues to grow and brand campaigns span across an increasing number of devices and platforms, it’s essential we have the people to match this. The combination, therefore, of digital experts and creatives who can work in tandem to drive innovation and push the boundaries is what will keep us relevant.
Do you find that young people are coming out of education ‘work ready’?
I think the term ‘work ready’ means something entirely different to everyone. Businesses can be rigid in their approach to hiring, especially when it comes to entry-level roles. This has to change and is something that we have actively addressed at MediaCom. We don’t require graduates to share their CV as it’s outdated. Instead, we ask open-ended questions that allow young people to show us their true personality.
The one piece of advice that I would give schools is that they need to show students that it’s ok to be themselves rather than trying to come across as someone they’re not, or putting pressure on them to seem ‘work ready’. Ultimately, as long as they are passionate about the role they will succeed.
Schools need to show students that
it’s ok to be themselves rather than trying to come across as someone
they’re not, or putting pressure
on them to seem ‘work ready’
What do you predict will be the growth areas in terms of media jobs going forward?
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is how media agencies can evolve fast enough to keep up with disruption. For example, I have to make decisions about where we invest in technology and talent. It was only a few months ago that we appointed Ben Rickard as chief digital and data officer. It was an important hire that will keep the company ahead of the curve when it comes to digital work, and ensure that we have data and creativity at the heart of everything we do.
Is Brexit expected to impact on the UK media industry’s workforce and how?
Despite the (hopefully limited) effect on the MediaCom business, it’s clear that the media industry as a whole is likely to face some challenges. As an industry, we can’t afford to shut ourselves off, or be seen to be shut off, from the rest of Europe and the rest of the world. We need to make sure the most talented people in the world want to work in UK media and any difficulties in Visa process or renewals, for example, will impact that.
Given that, as long as no new developments further hinder immigration, I don’t think the UK’s position as the world’s leading global advertising hub is threatened.
Read part two of our three-part series from Josh Krichefski.