Winning the war for talent will take more than mere words
Posted on November 01, 2018

'In truth, it’s hard to find good people these days. People who understand the importance of critical thought, who have a yearning for discovery, who can work well under pressure. People who have a thirst for knowledge and aren’t afraid of hard work.' Nadim Khoury, CEO Grey Group MENA shares his stances on how to win the war of talent.

Too many new recruits demand high salaries and automatic promotion, and yet lack the necessary work ethic. In the old days, we used to work for seven or eight clients at a time. We juggled everything. Multiple meetings, pitches, client demands. You worked hard, you did well, you were promoted. Now you’ll be lucky if a new employee can cope with two clients or has the necessary skills to progress.

Much of this is down to inadequate education, parenting, and the encouragement of a belief that says the world owes somebody a favour. But it is also clear that we are losing the battle for talent. Big tech and start-up culture have seen to that. We also have to recognise that we only have ourselves to blame. We have lost much of what once made advertising appealing – the excitement, the edge, the glamour, the sense of purpose.

“Too many new recruits demand high salaries and automatic promotion, and yet lack the necessary work ethic.”

As such, we have to take a long, hard look at ourselves. Why are we being overlooked by the most accomplished graduates? Have we disregarded craft in favour of a production line mentality? Have we consistently failed to nurture and incentivise our greatest asset – people? Too many times I’ve seen passion stripped from employees simply because they were undervalued or overburdened.

None of this can be looked at in isolation of course. Advertising has been transformed by technology and the economic hardships that have challenged our industry. Clients are requesting more for less; consumer consumption habits have altered beyond all recognition, while the competition for talent across the industry has risen considerably. All of which has had a direct impact on the demands felt by employees and the level of satisfaction that’s possible in their working lives.

Talent is a multi-faceted issue. But at its core is a simple question. How can our industry attract raw, unfettered talent and retain it? Not only that, but encourage, support and cultivate it. If we can answer that question, then maybe the future will be filled with the opportunities that we all seek.