Russell Parsons: We need your help to avoid a future recruitment crisis

Marketing Week is getting behind a new initiative to inspire more young people to consider a career in marketing and we need your help.

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It is incumbent on Marketing Week to lay bare some of the biggest problems that marketing is facing. There is usually less of an opportunity to present possible solutions.

Back in March, we published an article portentously titled ‘Marketing’s Looming Crisis’ where we set out the recruitment issues brands would face in the future because of a lack of awareness and poor perception among school-age and undergraduate pupils.

I was contacted soon after by Direct Line Group marketing director, Mark Evans, and CEO and founder of education technology company Learn Et Al, Ritchie Mehta, with a proposal to try to tackle the problem and attempt to create a pipeline of engaged marketers from diverse backgrounds.

The progress to date on creating the ‘School of Marketing’ is detailed in a number of upcoming features – the first of which you can read here. The initiatives already in place are designed to raise awareness, tackle misperceptions and present a compelling case to the marketers of tomorrow for why marketing is an exciting, varied, worthwhile career they can enjoy and flourish in.

From the development of short courses to an appearance in globally published text books, from a competition to develop an ice cream brand for Unilever to a partnership to spread the word about marketing in schools across Scotland, there is plenty happening already.

READ MORE: Marketing Week backs drive to get school kids interested in marketing careers

We need your help

However, this alone is not enough. We need your help. Also launching is the Founding 50. We want to recruit 50 advocates who are under 30 – an army of young marketers to go into schools and create content with the aim of inspiring and educating school children, in the hope they will be motivated to consider a career in marketing. You can apply here.

It is entirely right to call on marketers in their 20s as they can better relate to those they are looking to engage with. But neither do we want to exclude those past 30. Consider this a rallying call to those in the middle and advanced stages of their career. Encourage your younger team members to take part, show your support for what we are doing, go into schools of your choosing.

This is a job for everyone in the industry.

I am sure most of you reading this will agree that marketing was rarely discussed in school, and if it was, it was in pejorative terms in reaction to advertising. I suspect there are many more of you who will empathise with the comments of Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland who “stumbled” into marketing.

My seven-year-old daughter regularly reels off a list of careers she wants to pursue – dancer, doctor, vet, pilot and author among the current favourites. It would be great to think that marketer might be added to that list in the coming years.

As I said in March, there has never been so much variety to the job of marketing – more opportunities for the creative, the numerate, the technology-inclined and those who want to drive business growth.

But the story needs telling, and it needs telling earlier, in more places, and to a more diverse group of people. What is unveiled and called for in Marketing Week is just the start. The School of Marketing advisory board, consisting of some of the great and good in the industry, will meet on a regular basis to help guide what’s next. Beyond what is discussed there I would call on marketers to seize the initiative and find other ways to help.

Whether it is through supporting The Marketing Academy Foundation and its goal of creating marketing apprenticeships or looking into open days or internships, there’s a host of things that can be done.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, let’s market marketing.

For more information on the School of Marketing and the Founding 50 visit www.schoolofmarketing.co.uk.

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