Essence bids to beat adland’s talent shortage with the creation of chief talent officer role

Essence’s own response to the talent shortage in advertising has been to create a chief talent officer role that R/GA’s headhunter Jennifer Remling will take up.

The agency, which was snapped up by WPP last year, prides itself on work that intersects technology, science and creativity but that in itself has intensified its battle for talent.

It’s why the agency wants to overhaul its recruitment strategy, with Remling as the lead instigator in the hope that it not only finds the best talent but keeps them for longer. Part of this, will better identify those candidates with skills most suited to the agency’s offering as well as ensuring their hard and soft skills are better balanced and developed.

“In order to solve digital marketing’s toughest challenges, we need to arm ourselves with the very best talent,” said Christian Juhl, global chief executive of Essence. “At the same time, this can often be a challenge in today’s highly competitive landscape. I’m thrilled to have someone like Jennifer on board who can take our recruitment efforts to the next level as Essence further expands its global footprint.”

“As our industry continues to evolve, there is urgent demand for emerging skillsets and capabilities,” said Remling.

“Everyone is competing for the same talent--agencies, technology companies, publishers--and winning requires a holistic approach with a renewed emphasis not only on finding and attracting talent, but onboarding and retaining it. I’m excited to join a company that makes talent core to its strategy for growth and client satisfaction. Essence has a strong culture of learning and development which is a key differentiator and a great foundation to build on as we look to scale.”

While the tussle for talent in ad land is nothing new, Remling’s arrival at Essence reflects the current pressures brought on by technology’s growing influence on advertising. Growth in headcount of media agencies is far outstripping that of those in the creative sector, according to the IPA, with the number of people working in media agencies up 42.4 per cent over the past five years.

That appetite for new talent has also given rise to the creation of new roles such as the data scientist, whose job it is to extract insights from reams of data as well as further investigating new audience opportunities both on the agency and media owner sides.

Seb Joseph

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