NewsMediaWorks has come on board once again to sponsor B&T’s 30 Under 30 Awards, and we caught up recently with CEO Peter Miller (pictured above) to talk all about young talent in the industry, and what can be done better to foster and preserve it.
Why has NewsMediaWorks decided to partner with the 30 Under 30 Awards for the fourth consecutive year?
Our involvement is all about recognising that we need the young, up-and-coming executives to be in the conversation and to have a multi-levelled understanding of the news media offering.
It’s a credit to B&T that it’s shining a light on the skills and capabilities of young people who are doing well, otherwise it’s a mystery. If there are young guns doing fantastically well and no one knows why, then no one can pick up on and model the kinds of behaviours that are going to be successful in what is a very challenging industry.
I love continuity. I’ve only been at NewsMediaWorks for six months, and we’re not planning to stop doing things – we’re planning to start doing things – and I love the fact that we’re associated with an awards event like this. We need to show that we’re properly involved with the young guns in the industry, rather than just constantly pitching them and sending them bills, and the 30 Under 30 Awards are a really valid way of doing it.
I don’t see how you can be fair dinkum about fostering relationships with young, talented people if you don’t support the things that are important to them.
How vital are young people to the industry?
They’re obviously essential to their own employers or businesses because they’ve got energy, they’ve got ideas, they question everything with their interrogative thinking, they don’t take everything for granted, and that segment in the consumer world is vital for marketers. You’ve got to bring people into organisations who identify with the market they’re selling to.
That doesn’t mean a more mature media strategist is incapable of crafting a strategy and a plan to impact younger consumers, but if you’re looking for new angles and with things moving so fast these days, you need people right across the demographic spectrum to keep up with it all.
What can the industry do better to attract and retain young talent?
The current generation of young people are on a bit of a short fuse. They have access to vast amounts of information about options, so it’s a value equation – they’ve got to feel they’re getting something out of the game, and that means remuneration, but it also means advancement, opportunities, knowledge, and respect.
I don’t think they’re any different from the previous generations – they’ve just got more access to options, and therefore their current employers need to stimulate them and provide them with new experiences. I suspect that’s why agencies have such a big investment in people and culture, as opposed to the classic HR disciplines. They invest royally in programs to ensure talented employees are heard and in the conversation, because you can’t just go dishing up things and assume they’ll like them.
You always hear about conversations – we’re in a conversation with consumers or clients or staff. That is the absolute imperative when it comes to attracting and retaining clever people.
What’s the biggest challenge young people are facing in the industry?
The allure of the new I think is a challenge for them, and understanding the advantages that spring from developing their career in good wedges of time in organisations. I know the agencies and media organisations work very hard to retain people, but they must be appealing to the really smart set.
Another challenge for them is the overwhelming nature of the industry with its speed and rate of change. I get the impression that they work like buggery to stand still, and so much is demanded of them. Young talent need to give themselves time to do more strategic, uncluttered, ‘blue sky’ thinking in this mad and deadline-driven world. Having discipline to think constructively, strategically and creatively is key to innovation and survival, and I’m not sure if they get that much time to do that.