How to tackle the skills shortage and bag yourself a decent AM/SAM
When the credit crunch first hit a few years ago, the consequent lack of marketing graduates being hired led to the current skills shortage, making good Account Managers and Senior Account Managers a rarer breed than the lesser spotted snow leopard nowadays.
Most of my clients are currently bemoaning the lack of candidates at this level and it's true that although they are out there, the laws of supply and demand have meant that the strongest are in a position to be far more choosy about what they expect of their next employer.
So what can you do to attract these illusive creatures to your agency? Here are a few pointers from what our candidates say are the most important factors they consider when looking for in an ideal role:
Of course not every role can be fully integrated and dynamic - you may need someone to churn out monthly eDM campaigns. But have a think about what does make the role interesting:
Are there opportunities to work on great creative, learn from inspirational people and contribute to strategy and planning? Could they get involved in ad hoc projects, other accounts and/or new business pitches?
What are the training and progression opportunities within your company? Are you in a position to offer additional training/development? How quickly could a hard-working and ambitious AM/SAM progress to the next level? Does your company have a policy of nurturing talent and bringing people on in order to keep them within the business? (It could save you a fortune in future recruitment costs!)
Culture & social activities
How would you describe the culture of your company - is it a fun and interesting place to work? What are the extra benefits that are likely to attract people - it may be big things like health insurance, season ticket loans and gym membership, but the little things can be just as attractive to potential employees -fresh fruit, Friday beers and other social activities (organised or ad hoc).
Most candidates accept that in order to get on in their career they may end up needing to pull a few late nights in the office and that their work/life balance may be a bit skewed for a while. Offering decent holiday entitlement or a bit of flexible working can reap huge benefits in terms of employee commitment and enthusiasm. 22 - 25 days is around the average offered by agencies at this level. In addition an extra day off for birthdays, 'unofficial' closing over the Xmas break and having a later start time if you've been burning the midnight oil the night before will all help your team to feel appreciated and should help prevent burn-out.
Surprisingly this is nowhere near the top of the list of priorities for most candidates, with other factors being more important to them. Having said that, cost of living in London is higher than ever so you should at least be offering the market rate. Check out our recently updated salary survey which should give you a good idea of the range for different levels.
And finally - show your appreciation. A major reason many candidates give for wanting to leave their current role is feeling taken for granted or under-appreciated for the hard work they put in. A simple thank you can go a long way to keeping a happy and productive work-force.