Opinion: Proper training will help to ease the skills crisis

Last week we reported that media owners have been hit by a ’skills shortage’ and more specifically by a ’shortage of sales staff’. We know this will not come as news to all our readers, which makes me wonder why so few companies are working on a solution.

Last week we reported that media owners have been hit by a ’skills

shortage’ and more specifically by a ’shortage of sales staff’. We know

this will not come as news to all our readers, which makes me wonder why

so few companies are working on a solution.



As one sales director pointed out to me earlier this week, there has

been a lack of good sales people for some time. Sales executives with

two to three years experience are very thin on the ground. Those who do

fit into that bracket have too often skipped about - bumping up their

salaries but not always gaining the skills and understanding to

match.



The salaries bit seems fair enough - after all, this is a free market

and why shouldn’t the value of good sales people go up? But the skills

bit could be a problem as less experienced sales people try to keep up

with developments in a complex business.



What’s more, some managers have expressed concern that the pool of

graduates is not growing as fast as the number of sales roles, which is

multiplying rapidly, due, in part, to the dotcom explosion. Media owners

are bound to poach each other’s staff - it would be naive to think

otherwise - but hiring your rival’s sales pros must be coupled with a

solid graduate or school-leaver recruitment programme.



In our ’What it’s like to work for’ section, we ask companies how they

recruit and train. The Sun takes on six graduates a year and BBC

Worldwide has a graduate recruitment scheme. But few, if any, others

mentioned a graduate recruitment scheme.



Most claimed to have training or, at least, familiarisation schemes, but

the majority of these seemed to amount to little more than two or three

days plus external courses ’when requested’.



Perhaps some media owners forgot to mention their graduate recruitment

schemes when talking to us. Perhaps some sales executives consider the

levels of training completely adequate. And there is no doubt that

on-the-job training is still invaluable. But many media owners need to

make a serious investment in recruiting graduates and training

staff.



Many sales professionals are being lured to new media. We have spoken to

a number who have either made the move, or are thinking of doing so.



One executive who had moved from a traditional sales job to an online

sales role said: ’Part of the attraction is the mystique of the

internet.’ He admitted this quickly wore off once he was doing the job.

He added that he might not have moved had his previous employer offered

a new-media training course. ’These are things you have to learn about,’

he explained.



As media owners contemplate the skills crisis, the management might like

to ask whether they are teaching their staff as much as they want to

learn.



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).