Marketing Talent Feels Undervalued, Cannes Study Finds

Prioritizing Personal Development Is a Top Motivator

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People in the branded-communications industry are driven by passion and creativity, yet many in the talent pool feel undervalued, undercompensated and that they lack personal development opportunities at their current employers.

That's according to a survey conducted by Contexxt, the strategy and consulting arm of the Girls' Lounge parent company TFQ Ventures, on behalf of the Cannes Lions School. The survey interviewed 1,028 people worldwide in the industry to identify issues affecting talent today.

Participants were sorted into three groups: talent, not working; talent, working; and hiring bosses.

Personal development is the top motivator for working talent in the industry, with one out of three respondents in that group listing it as a main priority. The ability to make an impact on an organization is the second-highest motivator, according to 21% of the segment, which was 47% men and 53% women.

What is your biggest personal motivator when it comes to work?
BASE: TALENT, WORKING
Source: Contexxt

Although staffers are looking for personal development opportunities within their current organizations, 64% ranked their current job as 7 or less on a scale from 1 to 10 in regard to how much they would say they are currently being helped in terms of growth. Companies should typically aim to be on the higher end of the scale, at 8, 9 or 10, said Janis Gilman, strategy and marketing lead at Contexxt.

"There's a need for employers to take note of this and do what they need to do to get talent the development and training they need if they want to keep them," said Ms. Gilman.

When the working talent group was asked why they'd consider leaving their current job, the top reason was being undercompensated, at 20%, followed by lack of mentorship or personal development, at 19%.

"Training and recognition is important, and letting employees feel they are valued and they're not just a commodity," said Ms. Gilman, who added that staffers also need to speak up.

Who are you most likely to invest in training?
BASE: HIRING BOSSES
Source: Contexxt

The hiring bosses segment, 66% men and 34% women, revealed a gap between employers wanting to retain talent and actually offering personal development opportunities. While 87% of hiring bosses said they'd like to create a company culture that retains employees, only 36% offer further education benefits. The majority of hiring bosses (76%) also said candidates' potential is more important than their competencies.

More than three in five (62%) hiring bosses said training was very important in their own careers and 30% said it was somewhat important. "They know it worked for them," said Ms. Gilman, "so it's about waking them up to realize that this next generation needs the same training."

She added that while most hiring bosses in the survey said they value their employees (72%), they're "not going out of their way to recognize them."

On the gender front, both male and female hiring bosses are actively seeking female employees, at 68% and 63%, respectively. However, even though more than half of hiring bosses surveyed said they have more women employed than 10 years ago, women are still less likely than their male counterparts to be in C-suite, senior-level or business ownership roles within the industry. Only 7% of women surveyed were in C-suite positions, compared with 12% of men, and 10% of women were business owners, as opposed to 17% men. At the senior level, 44% in the study were male, while 37% were female.

For talent looking to enter the industry, passion and creativity are also the top driving forces, the study found. The segment, 27% men and 73% women, said the No. 1 way they job-hunt is through personal connections (78%), with online job portals, such as LinkedIn, coming in a close second (70%).

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