Late last month I posed the question to the readers of the Idaho Ad Agencies blog, “What do you think is going to be the biggest issue facing agencies in Idaho this year?” The responses were varied, as I expected, and ranged from serious to sarcastic.
It’s only fair that I share my thoughts on the subject.
I think the biggest issue facing agencies in Idaho (and everywhere else for that matter) this year is talent. More specifically, finding, recruiting, and retaining talent.
Let’s look at Boise and the Treasure Valley, for example. While there are over 600,000 people in the Boise MSA, the marketing and advertising industry is still a relatively small community. As such, the pool of available talent is very limited. Add to it the fact that agencies from out of town, and out of state are actively recruiting talent away from the Boise area, and the issue is further magnified (I’ve seen recruiting happening from a variety of agencies in the past year in Bend, Portland, Seattle, and Boulder, just to name a few).
Also, as evidenced last year, a number of seasoned agency staff, particularly creative staff, strike out on their own for a variety of reasons. That’s to be expected, of course, and is not something that’s likely to change any time soon.
The questions then, is what is the agency management / ownership doing to compensate for this? Are they on the lookout for new talent every day, or are they only looking when they have a specific position to fill? I’d be willing to say that it’s a little of both, and the answer will vary depending on which agency we’re talking about.
Of course, it’s easy for me to sit here and say that agencies should always be on the lookout for new talent. But along with that commitment comes the time and expenses related to it. I think, however, that those who are willing to make the commitment to finding and recruiting new talent for their shop will be in a good position for continued success.
So, now that I’ve rambled on for a while, I’ll throw the question back out to the audience: What steps can agencies in Idaho take now to position themselves well for the current, and future, war for talent?