MFA launches Career Changers program to tackle talent shortage

Mediaweek Agency 50 - MFA

The program will launch in 2023 and aims to diversify talent, grow the talent pool, and standardise media skills training

The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) has revealed its plan for tackling the industry’s ongoing talent shortage.

The industry body will launch a new recruitment and training program that aims to attract ‘career changers’, employees with experience from outside the media agency industry.

Launching in 2023, the Career Changers Program will seek to diversify media agency talent, grow the talent pool from which agencies hire, and standardise media skills training across Australian media agencies.

As part of the program, 100% of the MFA’s member agencies have taken the 1 in 10 Pledge – committing that one in every 10 people they hire will come from a non-media agency background. In return, the MFA will administer accelerated media skills training of career changers through expanded MFA e-learning courses, new training initiatives and providing support by bringing together a cohort of career changers.

According to the 2021 MFA Industry Census, media agencies employ 4,400 people while reporting a vacancy rate of 12% – meaning there are 500 roles which remain empty due to a lack of talent. By attracting employees from a non-media agency background, the Career Changers Program will grow the number of people entering the industry and alleviate the workload pressure on existing employees.

Career changers are already employed in media agencies, with common previous professions including architects, teachers, lawyers, finance experts, hospitality and retail workers, and other corporate roles. A survey of hiring managers by the MFA found these recruits bring strong transferable skills and are more likely to be enthusiastic, keen to learn quickly and promoted faster.

Mark Coad

Mark Coad, IPG Mediabrands Australia CEO and MFA board member, said: “One of the biggest challenges for agencies has been resourcing. This is a common problem for many industries, both in Australia and across the globe, and it requires a bold united effort to bring about change.

“By not working collectively as an industry, all we are doing is poaching each other’s people while failing to solve the talent shortage problem. Through the 1 in 10 Pledge we can increase the industry talent pool and swell our population and attract more diverse talent. It’s the only way we’re going to bring enough talent into this industry and overcome the burnout and mental health issues some of our people are feeling because of the work they have to do, to make up for the 500 roles that are not filled in media agencies.”

The 2022 MFA Industry Census, currently being completed, is expected to post a vacancy rate of 8% – while an improvement on 12%, it means media agencies will remain under-staffed.

Linda Wong, MFA director of people, said: “As an industry, it makes sense to recruit people with some experience and transferable skills. While media agencies are responsible for identifying and recruiting career changers, the MFA’s role is to ensure we set them up for success with the appropriate training. By centralising the training, we are also helping our members save time and money.”

MFA - Linda Wong

Linda Wong

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