Chinwag’s Digital Skills Survey at the end of 2007 proved yet again what we all know, that our industry is struggling to find and retain the best candidates which is leading to spiralling wage inflation in our sector, undermining growth and restricting profits. The figures, afterall, speak for themselves:

  • 97% of respondents find it either difficult or impossible to attract the right digital staff for their businesses
  • 57% of respondents reported that the digital skills shortage impeded the growth of their business in 2007
  • 75% of businesses are planning to increase the salaries of digital staff

Given this environment, we thought that our Graduate Academy would prove an enticing offering. While many companies have stepped forward and are currently interviewing some of our graduates, we have also met with one main excuse as to why, even having expressed an initial interest, they are no longer interested.

Was it because they were no longer recruiting?  Was it because they didn’t feel the program was useful and would add value? No. It was simply because they couldn’t warrant the cost of investing in the program for a graduate.

The program costs £4950 (or £3500 for the training only option) to include:

  • 8 days training (including 5 days residential)
  • E-consultancy managed practical project in digital
  • Full E-consultancy tutor support for 1 year
  • Search and selection of suitable candidates
  • 3 month money back guarantee
  • + more (complete proposal is on our website)

Forgetting the exact pros or cons of our pricing and commercial agenda (and yes, of course we have one) I’m still surprised that this isn’t an offer that’s of interest to more employers. Given we have 22 graduates who have made it through our intensive selection program and who are looking for work now, I’m surprised that we don’t have people knocking our door down. Obviously what people say in public and what they do in reality are not the same.

And this brings me to the main point of this post. Regardless of who is providing the service, how can we as an industry hope to bring in the best talent, if we are simply not prepared to invest in it?

Given that we have to compete for skills with blue chip companies in finance & banking, business, software, advertising etc., who have established track records of investing in graduates (making sure they receive the support and training they need as well as investing in their personal development) is it any wonder then that the brightest graduates are simply not interested?

We have 22 such bright prospects and unfortunately, there is a risk that many of them will choose another industry over ours simply because no one is interested. Can the last person to leave switch off the digital lights please?