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'Hire for attitude, train for skill' Starcom Mediavest’s co-CEO on closing the digital skills gap

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By Natalie Mortimer | N/A

July 9, 2014 | 4 min read

The digital advertising industry should hire people for attitude and then train them for skill to help combat the gap between the marketing and technology skill sets, according to the co-CEO of Starcom Mediavest Group Pippa Glucklich.

Speaking earlier today at The Drum Live on a panel about capitalising on the talent gap, Glucklich said that as the industry has begun to evolve so too has the diversity of the workforce at Starcom, and the way it looks at attracting talent.

“We have a quite simple approach which is hire for attitude and train for skill. Our approach is yes, our business has changed as we’ve moved into a more diversified service – for example six years ago we had less than 10 people in our search team now we’re pushing 100 – and that’s because we’ve diversified our skills.

“There are some particular areas where we’re looking for skills set, so in our performance team we would tend to hire people with a degree like computer science."

Glucklich added that the role of the media agency is "all about insight" and whether that comes from data or technology it is "really human understanding and that hasn’t changed and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”

Also speaking at the central London event was Daniel Schotland, VP of operations and customer success at TubeMogul, an adverting software company for digital branding, who remarked that as the industry continues to change it becomes difficult to assert who is the right candidate for the job.

“Rather than focussing on a specific pedigree we really try to take a look for people who fit our culture. And that’s all about doing what you say, moving fast and being ambitious and driven. You can teach somehow how to code and how to sell but you can’t teach heart and you can’t teach integrity and that’s the way we move forward.”

Glucklich also raised the point that the issue perhaps doesn’t lie with the skills gap per se, and rather the attitude that the younger generation has when it comes their expectations within the work place.

“It’s almost less about the skills gap and more about generation y and millennials and what they want from a job and a business these days. They are much less grateful for example to have a job than when I got into the industry so they want businesses to meet them half way they want business that give something back.”

Glucklich revealed that Starcom has had to adapt as a business to really understand what “turns those people on” and went on to say that it is “almost a bigger issue almost than whether someone has a geography degree or a computer science degree”.

During the session, the panel connected live with TubeMogul's Ukrainian managing director, Pawel Klymenk, via Double (an iPad-based telepresence robot which resembles a Segway) who spoke about the difficulty the Ukranian technology industry has encountered due to the Russian presence in the country.

The company has set up Tech4Ukraine, a project to raise awareness of the tech industry in the country and show support.

"Basically what we see right now, especially in Crimea where we have a large Russian influence, is some of the companies in the tech industry closing... which is something we will expect to see more of in the future if the crisis escalates".

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