Staff are the backbone of any kind of business, and the media industry is no exception. Having a strong, experienced, and dedicated team is essential for any media company to achieve its goals.
Unfortunately, in recent years the sector has seen worrying staff shortages that undermine the success of all kinds of companies that work with media and media agencies, which are struggling to find, retain, and train high-quality staff. Even more concerning, this trend seems to be escalating.
Why the Media Industry is Facing Staff Shortages
There are a few reasons behind the media talent crisis we’re seeing at the moment. Some of these are linked to global factors impacting all industries, while others are more specific to media.
High Turnover Rates
Staff turnover is a problem that has plagued many sectors for some time now. However, the media industry is now finding that a lot of our talent is churning big time, for two main reasons. Firstly, some of our best talent is leaving the industry to seek lucrative opportunities in other industries that are also facing talent shortages, as more than half of all Australian business leaders struggle to recruit staff.
Furthermore, this is happening so rapidly that we can’t replace staff quickly enough, leading to labour shortfalls. Additionally, employees are being poached by others within the industry. This issue is closely linked to the talent shortage: the more agencies struggle to find strong candidates for vacant positions, the more likely they are to approach individuals who may not have been actively looking for a change, and so the vicious cycle continues.
Not only does this contribute to staff shortages, but it also represents a significant drain on agencies, who need to invest significantly in recruitment, on-boarding, and training new hires. Not to mention the loss of productivity as new staff are brought up to speed!
The extended closure of Australia’s borders has also contributed to the talent shortage in media. Our industry has typically enjoyed a healthy influx of offshore talent, especially from the UK, the US, Canada, and Europe.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic saw Australia close its borders for a long period of time, meaning that no foreign nationals could enter the country, including media talent. Of course, the impacts of the border closure were far from limited to the media industry: Ernst & Young estimated that Australia was losing $7.6 billion a month while our borders were closed.
We’ve certainly seen the effect on our industry, with this compounding previous issues and it becoming harder than ever to find good media talent.
The Pull to the Tech Industry
Another factor that is contributing to a lack of talent in media is the pull to other industries, especially tech. Like any sector, media needs a constant influx of new graduates and young people to replace those who leave the industry and meet growing demand.
However, in recent years, we’ve seen young people choosing to go into tech rather than coming to media. This is largely because tech is seen as ‘sexier’, though high salaries and international opportunities are arguably also contributing to this phenomenon.
How do we Entice Staff into Media?
Like many other things, talent is subject to fashions and trends. Various push and pull factors can make certain industries more appealing than others, and drive candidates towards certain types of jobs and away from others.
Here’s what media agencies and vendors can do to attract the best talent, as well as other strategies for dealing with the labour shortage:
- Emphasize the benefits of working in media – Make an effort to communicate how exciting, important, and fulfilling the work you do is, both when recruiting and more generally when you promote your brand.
- Recruit talent with transferable skills – Rather than limiting your recruitment to people with industry experience, look for talent in other sectors who have transferable skills.
- Upskill your current staff – If you have a role to fill, look internally first and see who may be able to step up with some additional training or mentoring.
- Focus on retention – Keeping your existing staff on board will go a long way to limit your recruitment woes, so make every effort to retain your existing talent.
Where has the fun gone?
Above all else, it’s important to remember that media is fun and rewarding! Yes, media is still fun, both agencies and vendors have the opportunity to do some rewarding work for our clients and emphasizing this will go a long way to helping attract new talent and retain our existing employees. Have you struggled to retain staff or recruit new talent within your business? Please feel free to share – I would love to hear your experiences!