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4 May 2016

Account Managers and Account Directors – Building a career in the Marketing and Communications sector through f1 Contracts

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In a generation where economic instability is rife, a flexible job market is key. With the Brexit referendum looming ever closer there is a lull in the permanent job market as businesses wait to see the outcome post June 23rd. During unsettled times hiring companies don’t necessarily want to add to their fixed costs, and candidates may choose to wait before finding their next permanent role. Job seekers can often successfully find their next full time position whilst contracting; gaining experience and honing their skills at the same time. However, competition for the best talent is at an all time high in the marketing services sector; Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP plc the biggest marketing services company globally said in a recent interview with Mindi Chahal of Marketing Week “The problem with our industry is that people think the way to get talent is by stealing it – they win a piece of business and they take talent [from other agencies]. It’s self-defeating,” he says. Meanwhile, investment banking and consulting businesses such as McKinsey & Company and Goldman Sachs recruit, incentivise and motivate their people, which enables them to consistently recruit the best talent, he argues.

In the current market, companies can try to entice high quality candidates into their organisations on a freelance or short term contract basis. This gives them the short term assistance they need with campaigns and special projects.  Contract workers/ freelancers can bring a wealth of experience from different organisations and a freshness in thinking that can revitalise a company’s creative thinking. Businesses pay for the skills and the time that they need and then have the option to hire full time if they like what they see in action. This recruitment strategy can have an effect on top line income and bottom line profits by better managing overheads. For business owners and managers – rents in the capital are going through the roof and nowadays many companies only have 75% of their work force with a fixed desk in order to maximise occupancy levels.

The big question though is – do workers at the lower and middle management level in the marketing and communications community want the insecurity of project assignments; do they prefer this way of working to being in a permanent role with career progression. Is stability something that a generation of 25-30 something year old men and women working in London actually aspire to. Young people have always rented in the capital before taking the plunge and launching themselves on to the housing ladder but a rise in foreign investors in our capital city is pushing house prices way beyond the this group’s reach. When this generation finally do buy their first property it will most likely be 20 to 30 miles outside London with long commutes to and from work. This generation is uncertain where it will be living and working in as little as 5 years.

Freelance and contract working can not only provide this generation of people with the short term income they need but can also give them the time to organise and revaluate their next career move. Being able to contract and freelance gives people wider experience and a broader skills set than someone who has been institutionalised within a company for 5 years. The ability to adapt to different companies ways of working engenders a chameleon approach arguably giving a person more confidence to integrate within a range of working communities. It also gives this same person more ideas to take with them to their next assignment.

This symbiotic relationship between the freelance/project led candidate wanting to have flexibility whilst constantly improving him/herself  by learning new skills and businesses needing extra assistance but without the permanent increase in overheads is all part of the new economy. Whilst a portfolio career has for years been the route that many experienced agency and inhouse marcoms experts have taken, are we seeing a younger generation considering this as the new norm rather than landing in just one or two companies for their first decade of experience?

Contact Luke Mattingly for a face to face meeting to discuss how contracting with our clients can help build your career – Contract team at f1