March 22, 2019

By 2020 one in five of the workforce will be Gen Z. At Advertising Week Europe this week a panel of experts was brought together by Brave Bison in partnership with the Creative Industries Federation to tackle the question: are the creative industries doing enough to stop young talent turning away from this sector?

Our Membership Officer, Ted, was there to take note. Here are his five takeaways:

1. Let Young People Do the Talking

Young people today trust the people they know. According to Will Pyne (Chief Creative Officer at Brave Bison) they want to hear from their peers, people they recognise and trust. As a content creator on platforms with a vast Gen Z audience, Brave Bison would know: every day they try to get content out there that speaks to this audience.

Taking note, as a company or organisation you need to think about how you come across to the younger generation. As the token young person on the panel, this chimes with the idea behind Kesang Ball’s (co-founder of Trippin) company that came out of a community of friends on Facebook. Frustrated by what industry had to offer, she set up her own travel agency with peer-to-peer branding.

As Gen Zedders know better than anyone else how to build their own brands and platforms on social media, companies should let them speak peer to peer. This will go a long way in attracting the social media savvy younger people.

2. Degrees Aren’t the Only Way

University degrees can feel like institutionalized education funnels that push people into jobs they don’t want. Embrace the fact degrees aren’t the only way into the industry anymore.

At MediaCom, as Nancy Lengthorn (Head of Future Talent, Diversity and Inclusion) points out, they got rid of education criteria as a recruitment six/seven years ago. And they are on the way to binning CVs completely, feeling that - like work placements - they are more a reflection of their parents’ connections.

So, do companies promote the idea degrees are a waste of time? Although CVs are increasingly less important for entry level jobs, we have to point out that there are different ways of getting into the industry. The message should be: do what fits you.

3. Creative industries Are Still Underappreciated

The biggest problem is still that people aren’t aware of the opportunities in the creative industries. Everyone in the sector needs to work together to break down stigmas and raise awareness about the creative industries.

The Creative Industries Federation, with ScreenSkills and Creative & Cultural Skills, has recently launched a Creative Careers Programme to do just this. Through the programme around 2 million young people will be able to access better advice about pursuing a creative career, and leading organisations and individuals from across the creative industries will engage with more than 160,000 school-age students by March 2020. Find out how to get involved here.

4. Build Work with Purpose

Young people are challenging conventions. In society and in the workplace. They are asking: does the work I do have purpose? If not, they will leave in a heartbeat. As a company or organisation you have to make sure you offer work they can believe in.

But this “purpose thing” is not simply a distaste of selling stuff. Young people still like great products that have questionable ethics - I mean, look at Über. But Gen Zedders simply don’t want to slave their life away for a company they don’t believe in.

5. Make It an Experience

Gen Zedders are focused on the now, rather than the future. Simply as they don’t know what it has in store for them. Remember, this is the generation that grew up in the times of the 2008 financial crisis, are faced with unaffordable housing (unless you have rich parents) and are left with the inheritance of Brexit and climate change.

So, play into the experiences your company or organisation can offer. Why would they come work for you instead of travelling around the world with friends? So as well as the spreadsheets that are an important part of work also foster the passions of your juniors and interns. You will not only discover the in-house talent you have, but also have happier younger people in your office.

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