Oystercatchers Club: How do we inspire the next generation of talent?

Highlights from the Oystercatchers Club event on attracting and retaining talent to the marketing industry

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In the third Oystercatchers Club evening of 2018, there was passionate debate around the topic from our star line up including BT Group’s CMO Zaid Al-Qassab; contemporary historian, educationalist and political author Sir Anthony Seldon; Amplifi’s new CEO Pippa Glucklich, and, Google/YouTube marketer Vishal Naul.

L-R: Zaid Al-Qassab, Pippa Glucklich, Suki Thompson, Sir Anthony Seldon, Visha Naul
L-R: Zaid Al-Qassab, Pippa Glucklich, Suki Thompson, Sir Anthony Seldon, Visha Naul

There was also a mindfulness session in the middle of the discussion, a first for an Oystercatchers Club event!

Held at London’s May Fair Hotel and chaired by our CEO Suki Thompson, there was a full house of business leaders from Heathrow, Pepsico, Walt Disney Co, Unilever, HSBC, IBM, Lidl, Diageo and Samsung Europe among others. Agencies were there in force too – including Adjust your Set, W+K, McCann, Geometry, RAPP, AMVBBDO, Livity, Mother, Iris, Wunderman and Adam + Eve.

When it comes to inspiring and attracting the next generation of marketers, a resounding 50% of the audience believed that success lies in greater school outreach, with cross-industry initiatives from brand-owners and agencies. As Marketing Editor Russell Parsons so clearly said; “we need to market marketing”, an sentiment that the assembled audience very much agreed with.

Discussion spotlighted how to reframe traditional recruitment methods from “hire for a way of doing” to “hire for a way of thinking”.  Sir Anthony believes we should re-evaluate “intelligence” from intellectual to emotional, social, creative and spiritual and re-think the question “how intelligent you are?” into the much more insighful “how are you intelligent?” He called out for companies and schools to nurture entrepreneurship and communications skills.

For talent development, the panel agreed that as an industry we are failing to make sufficient investment.  According to Econsultancy research, sixty percent of marketers claim to spend just two days or fewer on any form of professional development each month. Fifty-six percent say that their organisations have little in the way of a formal strategy towards learning.

“It’s simply not good enough” commented Suki, who believes that personalised learning for everyone needs to become the norm. Companies who know this are succeeding – and Suki highlighted McDonald’s Academy as an example.

Development can come in many forms from formalised training sessions to power hours and constant mentoring.  As Zaid pointed out, it’s no coincidence that a large percentage of top CMOs started their careers with companies such as P&G and Unilever, who invest heavily in training their people.

With Brexit on the horizon, threatening to further drain the talent pool, training should be a company priority more than ever before.

Econsultancy has coined the phrase “learning is always on.” – a sentiment echoed through the event.  And according to Sir Anthony Seldon, “The best people at work are those who are keen to learn to the last moment.” He stressed the importance of mindfulness not only for a better quality of personal and professional life, but it for better focus and creativity, proving his point by leading the panel and audience in a 3 minute mindfulness session in the middle of the discussion.

A big thank you to our brilliant panelists and to all our guests. 


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