Friday, August 21, 2009

Looking for new challenges as an old bod

The keynote to this message is for all those recruitment consultants and HR bods out there who think anyone over 50 is "challenged" rather than up for a challenge. This subject is probably blogged all over the place, but I must go on the record. Oh! Oh! Maybe it's not already blogged because those over 50 have never heard of blogging! If that is the case, I am breaking new ground, which is a good advertisement for the sort of bloke I am.

I'll put you in the picture. I am over 50 (not much over) and in marketing communications/public relations. I am employed and well paid. Two check boxes ticked so far. The problem is that I am no longer intellectually challenged by what I'm doing. This means I am available should anyone want to transfer me into an energy-charged, brand-driven and customer-focused environment (Hurdle #2 - must be in Melbourne, Australia).

What I want to know is why is it that marketing and communications roles do not demand a significant proportion of experienced individuals. When I go to marketing/communications conferences, the delegates are all quite young. When I go to a financial services conference, the demographic at senior management level is much older.

Now, before you jump to conclusions, this is not a rant against young, upwardly mobile marketing and communications professionals. I enjoy immensely working with younger teams and pinching their ideas and knowledge on new media trends in particular. The issue is (and this is my agency telling me this) that there are so many campaigns and programs that either don't see the light of day, fail to get a tick from executive management, or get stuffed up in the production process simply because the people running them lack the appropriate experience to get them approved and happening.

The thing is that seniority provides gravitas at executive level. That's why you see so many in the 'more respected' professional services like law, accounting/auditing and investment management with a heavier weighting of gray hair in the ranks. They have understood that this projection of experience has a psychological impact at executive and board level.

So why does the marketing and communications so often not recognise this in the recruiting process. Is it an extension of the fact that marketing and comms are seen at executive level as 'costs' and the recruitment process consequently becomes price-driven?

Ok. Go on. Have a crack at me.

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