The business of communications is an especially attractive field these days in Romania with demand growing intensely and offer trying to keep up. However, as companies are waking up to the need to have specialists handle their communications, communication companies are waking up to the realization that two things have happened: the staffers they have are unable to keep up with the changes in comms and the overall manpower is simply not sufficient. More and more specialized needs are surfacing in comms and we are simply not ready to handle them from lack of knowledge and lack of people.
I have had in the past months more than 10 times heard my friends in comms asking where to get a good account, a good planner, a good designer. The answer is almost invariably “if you cannot poach them from your direct competition you need to go to the University and find them there”. Your choices are generally limited to one person and your strategy is always costing a lot: poaching means doubling the pay, hiring babes in the woods means huge training costs. The trouble lies even deeper though: the poached are old school people who will bring nothing new to the table, the newbies almost never come from the right background (I need to make this clear, I think designers should have design training, accounts should have marketing training, copywriters should have screenplay writing or journalism training, planner should have marketing comms, sociology or anthropology training).
In Romania this has led to a dire occurrence in comms HR: the under-qualified over-demanding newbie. These are people with no experience and (stress here) no training in comms who apply for specialized jobs and get them solely on the basis of their aspirations. You need only say you want to be an account, a planner, a designer and your potential paycheck jumps through the roof because there simply is no other way.
What makes the experience with these types of people especially sour is that although they have formally NO SKILL to perform their job, they evaluate their situation based on how much responsibility and money they are given. Practically they will leave if you don’t instantly provide them with the best desk, best accounts and best salary. And the reason this works is because they can jot down another job experience in their CV and get an even better-paid aspiration-based position at the next people-hungry agency.
I see this reflected in our work in 4 ways:
- we deliver crap work: since experienced people spend their time training the new ones in the OLD WAYS there is no evolution on the market
- we reduce the actual time spent on proactive work: because when you think you know everything and you don’t, mistakes occur and they need to be fixed, that’s retroactive work
- we increase the average salary for basic performance which leads to
- we create a generation of well-paid people who don’t know anything new thus effectively raising the retribution bar while lowering the performance bar
Now maybe it’s just me but that simply does not sound okay. I think people should be hired on know-how and paid on performance. The worst mistake you can make is ire them on aspirations and pay them on endurance.
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.