ZenithOptimedia APAC talent boss: ‘We need to get graduates excited about a career in media’ | M&M Global

ZenithOptimedia APAC talent boss: ‘We need to get graduates excited about a career in media’

Recruiting and retaining talent in Asia is challenging, but talented graduates are still attracted to the media industry, according to a panel of experts speaking at Festival of Media Asia Pacific 2015 (APAC).


The ‘Big Talent Debate’ panel featured talent leaders from agencies Starcom MediaVest and ZenithOptimedia, as well as Twitter and consultancy firm Accenture.

Janice Foo, chief talent officer, APAC, at ZenithOptimedia said the agency was having to work hard to convince graduates to choose a career in media over more lucrative options: “There is no shortage of talented graduates, [but many] want to go to the financial sector as it looks glamorous and it pays well.”

“We need to get them to know how exciting the industry can be, compared to the banking industry, which is getting more and more regulated. How do we appeal to the right audience and what future can we paint for them? Based on that, we can appeal to their potential and passion,” she added.

Accenture’s MD, global lead for media management, George Patten, insisted media companies continue to appeal to young people entering the jobs market, but conceded junior staff retention is tough.

“You should have more confidence, [media] is a great industry. Don’t be fooled to think it is tough to get talent, because a lot of people want to work for you. As someone at a management consultancy, it is tough for us to compete,” said Patten.

“With churn, we certainly see an issue in China. People can move for double their salary at a very junior level. We have to make people realise their career is a long thing.”

Bala Subramaniam, regional HR business partner at Twitter Asia Pacific, agreed that there is a danger of losing staff on the “cusp” of a promotion to rivals willing to reward their experience quicker than their employees.

He added firms should work harder to reward employees in other ways, with talent acquisition and talent development teams working “closer together”.

However, according to Seok Hian Tang, head of talent, SEA, at Starcom MediaVest, sometimes it is worth taking a longer view of talent management.

“For some key talents, if for whatever reason they leave Starcom, we keep in touch, so they may return with new skills and new insights. We look at the whole career span of the employee.”

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