From Capstone Hill Search’s perspective at the coalface, it comes as no surprise that this year’s Global Communications Report again highlights the critical importance of identifying, securing and retaining talent.  The findings are absolutely on par with what we’ve witnessed throughout the US, European and Australasian markets over the past 12 months.  

The ability to build or maintain competitive edge, to leverage market growth potential, and to remain relevant to broadening expectations of clients and stakeholders, still remains fundamentally anchored in the ability to secure and retain the best talent. 

A significant challenge in addressing demand for the best talent with broadening skill sets lies with a seemingly ongoing lack of willingness to source or consider talent from outside traditional PR roles.  This conservative approach sees agencies continuing to opt for cannibalising competitors for new hires, while client side, the primary sources remain other in-house departments or PR Agencies. Both strategies which continue to place pressure on retention rates. 

Whether client side or agency based we see very strong demand globally for a balance between traditional core skills such as writing, relationship management and strategic planning as much as for less traditional skills and experience in areas such as multimedia content development, social media and digital strategy.  Additionally, although slightly less at the forefront, skills and experience in business literacy, analytics, search engine optimisation, research etc., are also increasingly seen as critical ingredients in the arsenal of ideal recruits.  

A significant trend is the demand for increasingly broad and diverse skill sets – yet not necessarily a case of ‘Jack of all trades’, more ‘master of all trades’. Providing further complication is the persistent trend to want to find this ever-increasing breadth of skills, yet with specific sector or geographic market expertise.  

Although general growth remains strong and with it the demand for talent, and despite communications departments and agencies highlighting attracting talent as their primary business challenge, there remains an apparent lack willingness to yield on variables such as sector or market knowledge as a potential trade-off.  

Interestingly, with modern stakeholder groups including increasingly transient media and digital influencers, the desire to have what is perceived as long standing local market relationships and/or knowledge is still highly valued by many communications employers. 

However, although general conservatism still remains in terms of preference for local market, industry sector knowledge and traditional sources of talent, we are witnessing via Capstone Hill Search’s client base in the USA, Europe and Australasia an increasing willingness to broaden search horizon’s.  In the past 12 months, this has perhaps been most noticeable in growing acceptance of a more globalized talent pool and recognition of candidate ability to quickly adapt to new markets.  Equally, agencies in particular have been noticeably more willing to search into non-traditional sectors.  

Professionalism, adaptability, breadth of skills, strategic thinking and quality of basic technical skills, remain the cornerstone of the majority of all successful hiring decisions. 

By Capstone Hill Search