Advertisers Have a Talent Problem, but They’re Working on a Fix

A new report from the Association of National Advertisers' educational foundation says the industry's talent pipeline is in trouble. But the foundation is targeting industry resources toward building it back up.

The educational foundation of the Association of National Advertisers has a plan to reinvigorate the industry’s failing talent pipeline, which has started to dry up as the rise of digital technology has disrupted higher education in the field and tech companies have siphoned off students who once went into marketing and advertising jobs.

These workforce dynamics were key findings of a recent report from the ANA Educational Foundation (AEF), “Bridging the Talent Disconnect: Charting the Pathways to Future Growth” [PDF].

“Finding and retaining talent has been a serious problem in our industry for some time,” ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a news release. “But this pioneering new study has revealed that the system to create our next generation of marketing and advertising talent is strained to a breaking point. Immediate action is required, and the AEF has developed the necessary steps to address this critical issue by bridging the gap between the core constituents.”

Working with ANA, the foundation is launching Pathways 2020, an initiative that aims to build relationships with 1,000 universities, 1,000 professors, and 1,000 students by 2020.

“Ingrained in this process is our commitment to demonstrating to students what a creative, innovative, and rewarding career in marketing and advertising can be,” the foundation says in the report.

Pathways 2020 includes a speaker program to have advertising industry figures visit colleges, a fellowship program to encourage college professors to visit ad agencies and marketers, and, for students, a series of internships and immersive fellowships designed to offer real-world experience in the industry.

Additionally, AEF is now hosting educational content on a section of its website called FastForum. It offers advice to aspiring marketers on how to get one’s foot in the door—how to properly set up a portfolio, what to expect during interviews, and whether to apply for jobs online.

The foundation is calling on industry members to sign on to its Pathways Pledge to help tackle the talent gap.

“We share an unprecedented opportunity to reignite growth in our industry by tapping into our greatest future resource,” AEF says in the report. “We’re counting on your support to make their future ours.”

(johavel/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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