Advertising Group Starts Apprenticeship Program to Broaden Talent Pool

Members of the Interactive Advertising Bureau have been struggling to find and keep talent in this tough job market. To tap into a new pool of recruits, the association is launching a digital media apprenticeship program.

Like several other industries, media and marketing companies are experiencing difficulties recruiting and retaining talent. To help combat this, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is introducing a digital media apprenticeship program.

“Right now, there is a lot of competition when it comes to people in the industry,” said Jessalin Lam, IAB vice president of member development and diversity. “This is a way of really opening up to a new talent pool that hasn’t really been tapped into yet.”

IAB is piloting the program with two member companies beginning in January 2022 before opening it up to others. The companies involved will offer apprenticeships for data analyst positions and train and mentor the individuals selected for a year.

“One thing that makes this apprenticeship really unique is that we are encouraging organizations to hire people based on potential, rather than the credential of a bachelor’s degree or if they have any advertising experience,” Lam said.

While apprenticeship can help with recruiting, IAB also believes it will help with long-term retention.

“What we’ve heard from our members is that it’s not always recruiting talent, it’s also retaining talent,” Lam said. “With the two different companies that have onboarded for this program next year, there is one company is utilizing it to retain talent. Another one is focused on recruiting.”

Lam said that the retention factor comes into play because employees feel more connected if they believe their employer is investing in them.

“When it comes to being able to commit to these types of programs, it’s showing more of the long-term investing in the employee themselves rather than just recruiting them to the job,” Lam said. “Candidates are finding that they want to be in companies that respect them and invest in them for the long term rather than just check off the list for a job.”

In addition to broadening the talent pool by allowing passion to play a factor over experience or credentials, the apprenticeship program can also increase diversity. IAB designed the apprenticeship program so that companies can target their recruiting to reach populations that are underrepresented in their organization.

“They can target working parents, or they can target historically marginalized communities, or veterans, depending on who they want to reach out to,” Lam said. “That can help, in terms of really diversifying who enters the industry or even someone who is new to the industry completely.”

Lam said IAB has been working on the program for more than a year and is glad to finally roll it out. “We took the time, planted the seed with our members to say, ‘What do you think about this?’, built it out, and planned,” said Lam, who joined the organization while the process was already underway. “That’s why we’re really excited it’s finally launching, because it’s going to be really exciting to see how this works.”

(fizkes/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!