Over at the mondaymediachat blog, Bernhard Glock (ex Global Media Director P&G) and I recently discussed the challenge for the marketing communications industry in finding great talent.
In the video blog I suggested that the industry's dependence on headhunters is much like marketing's historic addiction on 30 second spots and press ads. Neither are necessarily wrong, but other, potentially fruitful options exist.
In investigating this further, I came across this stunning short speech from Sir Ken Robinson,from the TED collection, where he confronts the educational system head on.
He touches on the need to shake off the commoditisation of education,and instead explore the 'different talents, aptitudes and passions' of young people. He rightly points out that when passionate about something, an hour feels like five minutes; when disengaged with something, 5 minutes feels like an hour.
Whether it is the educational system or the marketing world, people need to be passionate about their work. No argument there.
My concern is whether the industry is truly seeking out people with different aptitudes and talents or whether we are drawing talent from a narrow section of society. My sense is we are only scratching the surface in the search for the 'different talents' that Sir Ken Robinson refers to in his speech.
One of the most exciting marketing talents I came across happened to sit in the finance department of a company, checking invoices. His talent for marketing was not spotted by the marketing division as he was viewed through the filter of his title, rather than what he had to contribute - ahhh the tyranny of job titles!
Finding the great talent for the industry requires a shaking off of the blinkers too. If we don't, then the very talent we say we want will either redirect their passion elsewhere or set up by themselves and showing us all how things should be done.