Agencies are getting creative with talent recruitment as The Great Resignation continues.
Dentsu Media on Tuesday revealed The Media Experience, an eight-week vocational training program designed to bring in talent historically excluded from the industry, such as veterans and people without college degrees.
“We're opening the aperture to our industry for people who don't have a college degree to work in advertising,” said Doug Rozen, CEO, Dentsu Media Americas. “Collectively, the ad industry needs to continue to find ways to attract talent.”
The first four weeks of the program are an introduction to the media industry, covering basics about the business and how it works, as well as basic job training skills, such as how to be an effective communicator and how to manage time.
The second four weeks drill down into vocational skills in specific disciplines, such as search, social or programmatic. During this portion, apprentices are embedded on client teams within Dentsu Media agencies Carat, iProspect and Dentsu X and receive both online and in-person training.
To select cohort members, Dentsu is working with industry initiatives such as COOP and the 4A’s MAIP internship program, as well as HBCUs and diverse student organizations and resource centers, and is currently creating new partnerships.
The interview process for the program has been designed to eliminates bias by focusing on a person’s potential vs. skill sets. Questions are more aligned to “what they have done in the past to overcome challenges and what is their eagerness to enter the ad industry, vs. tell me about the skills you know,” Rozen explained. “We'll provide those skills.”
Each cohort member is offered a job at the end of the program, provided they complete the training effectively.
“Sometimes you go through these programs and there's nothing guaranteed in the end,” Rozen said. “For us, that’s important in order to draw on the best talent.”
Dentsu is currently working with its first cohort and expects to have three more throughout the year for a total of roughly 200 graduates.
According to Rozen, Dentsu Media built the program around existing training from across its agencies, which it pulled together into a “comprehensive apprenticeship.”
With the program, Dentsu Media is looking to move away from internships, which rely more on access and connections, and focus on apprenticeships to broaden the talent pool.
“We want this to be about people's potential,” Rozen said. “We want to create programs that drive long-term opportunity and remove any bias from identifying the best possible talent.”
While the program is not specifically focused on BIPOC talent, Dentsu Media also hopes the new approach will diversify its workforce, both from a skills and race and ethnicity perspective.
“There is obviously and necessarily a lot of emphasis at more senior levels within agencies to diversify the workforce, but one of the most critical [stages] is at the early career level,” Rozen said. “That can help us, over time, establish the most diverse workforce possible.”