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Ep. 17 – Graduate Jobs: Are ‘Entitled Millennials’ ready for the workplace?

Welcome back to the Cunning Plan Podcast – What The Fox!

Today we’re joined by David Edmundson-Bird, Digital Marketing Principal Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, some may know him on social media as the Groove Generator!

We cover some super important topics in this podcast that we’re sure a lot of you can relate to. What to expect? Well, do millennials really live up to their ‘entitled’ reputation? Working for free, what companies can do to get the most out of their staff, and most importantly, what do business’ need to do to ensure they employ the right graduates…

Quick disclaimer – we’ve tried something a little different with the editing this week, we wanted this to flow as freely as possible whilst keeping it to the point, so apologies for any jump cuts! Nevertheless, this is an important topic that’s widely spoken about, which is why we thought it important to speak to David and cover all sides of the debate, so please do let us know what you think. Enjoy!



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Read the full transcript here – Please note that this is a rough transcript!

Interviewer: Hello. Welcome to the Cunning Plan Podcast. I’m here today with David from MMU. He’s here today to talk to us all about graduates. A bit about yourself. David, what’s the name of the course?

David: I’m the principal lecturer in digital marketing at Manchester Met and I’ve set up a number of programs around digital marketing. I’ve been there since 2004. I was only supposed to be there for two years but I’ve never gone because I’ve been involved in a host of really interesting programs. I set up the UK’s first MSc in digital marketing in 2007. I’ve run units around the themes of digital coms and digital marketing since 2006, which is one of the reasons why I landed there and I taught a version of that unit every year since.

The first year I ran that undergraduate unit there was 30 students on it. This year there are 147. There’s a real steep curve in the people who are taking that unit. Everything I do is about preparing students for practice and work in the digital coms sector.

Interviewer: I’ve read a number of articles about some of the stats that we were hearing. 23% of employees said that grads are not ready for work. 53% say there’s too much book learning in university. 40%, they lack any sort of social skills. From businesses, a pretty harsh indictment of the type of grads that universities are putting out. Again, some of these stats that this was from all of our careers.

Again, some CBI and Pearson research broke down the different sectors and how different sectors output the students about who’s better and all those things like that. What do you think is the cause of that general feelings? Obviously, that’s really grouping all employees together in that statement, but what do you think is causing that?

David: Well, we’re grouping our employers but also grouping all graduates. I think that not everyone goes to university to get a job. That’s going to come as a bit of a shock to some people, but there are – I’m quite happy for people to go to university and study something that isn’t about getting a job. Other people will disagree about that. I work in a university which has a history of preparing people for work. It was polytechnic at one time. Before that, there were a whole slew of institutes that we can look back as far as 1824 to see what we were doing, and it was about preparing the people of Manchester for work.

It’s your mechanics institute, you’ve got various institutes of commerce. You’ve got the oldest purpose-built school of art, and that was about creating graphic designers. There’s those roles, they were all about real work and the skills that were required for those. That works carried on. I work in a business school. I work in a department that’s around marketing, retailing, and tourism. They’re all vocational roles, and people come on those courses because they are interested in careers in those areas. We provide them with, I’ll say, a rounded education, and it is education not training.

I think that’s one of the first areas to look at where I prepare students so that they can arrive in work, but I’m also preparing them to be able to work for the rest of their lives, and the students pay me so I don’t get money from anyone else. The agenda thing is quite interesting though. I’ve got a lot of employers saying to me, “None of the graduates are work ready” I say, “Well, we paid”. Historically, we paid along with our taxes that it’s tough to pay for universities now. Students bear the debt and that’s changed a lot of the way that students think about coming to university. It hasn’t stopped them coming, it didn’t…..

I thought there’d be fewer students this year. There are more. We’re actually in a bit of dip demographically at the moment. We should have had fewer. We’ve got more so more people are coming to university and people can see the value of getting skilled up for this next big impact economic wave that we’re going to be involved in. Which is less about manual labor and much more about our intellectual labor. It is a mixed bag because you’ve different kinds of students coming out of university but I’m very confident that the work I do is directed to making people employable, to making them desirable, and that all of the programs we put in place are set up to do that.

I think a lot of institutions are like that but I think there are going to be courses and students who aren’t, because of the nature of what they’re studying. I’m not sure. I’m probably going to speak out of turn here, but I don’t know what kind of employability someone thinks about when they go and do a course on English Literature. It’s not that it’s not a nice or valuable thing. Usually, the one’s going to do them because that’s for them.

Interviewer: Joe who works here, he has this archeology degree, for example. I don’t think he uses that a lot on a day-to-day basis.

David: I can train them to think, and I can train them to pick up new skills fairly quickly. I’m giving them things that they can use from day one. I’m trying to get these two things balanced and it doesn’t always work. Not everyone’s receptive to that as a learner.

I am doing something which I think is consistent and I’m confident that it works quite a lot of the time, but I’m working with some raw materials and I don’t always have control the origins of those raw materials or ultimately what they’ll turn in to.

Interviewer: What do you think that universities as a whole need to do more of the kind of things that you are doing, the techniques you are using to make people employable? We talked about the course that they’re doing. The course you chose to do does speak a little bit to, “I went in to the law degree” because you were supposed to go and do a degree. That was kind of, “I didn’t necessarily want to be a lawyer” but you would just have to go and do a degree, so that was something I was interested in so I did it.

Now it’s very different. You go in to a degree because you want to do that job in theory. We started the subject yesterday. It’s about the attitude, the social skills, the ability to go into a workplace and communicate with people.

David: You’ll find one of the things we do is you’re forcing people into rooms with each other. We do a lot of group work. Students hate group work.

Interviewer: I hated group work. I really did.

David: Because you’ll get that feeling of maybe carrying a fifth wheel, and yet in the real world, you’re going to have to work with people and some of those people are going to be less than helpful. In the real world, the problem is different because you’re being paid whereas in a university environment, you are paying and you are trying to get your degree and the tension there is around that fact that the group work could be a problem in the achievement of that, and I can see that.

We’re moving to a situation where if you’re going to have group work, it’s the group work itself that’s been assessed. It’s the ability to work with a team that will be assessed. We’ll be moving to more of those kind of, “You don’t even work in a group when we wanted to assess your ability to work in a group.” Around teamwork, around the ability to work as a team on a problem. We’ve got units in our second year where students solely focus on say a client brief, and it’s about looking at how they perform. Our post-grad will have another thing called live client brief, and again, we look at how they perform collectively and respond to a problem and can they see their own roles within that.

Those skills, you can’t say that they are not being delivered, but ultimately it’s up to a graduate to go out and be able to demonstrate that they have those skills or choose to demonstrate. Certainly from my perspective, that’s we do. I think, when I go and visit all the universities and I see people in what they do, that’s definitely happening but I can’t be sure that

David: it’s happening everywhere.

David: I’m pretty sure it’s not happening everywhere because we’re still seeing the outputs of that.

Interviewer: Yes, yes. We wouldn’t be getting results like this in these surveys if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re– but I think there’s also potentially an unrealistic expectation from employers as well.

David: Yes. I mean we’ve talked in the past about the adverts I’ve seen with a graduate experience required and somebody who’s 20 or 21 the opportunities for experience are limited. We have programs where we’ve got yearlong placements where people can go out and learn those skills and get those experiences but experience can only be provided by employers. I can’t provide experience. I’m on my biggest…I cannot teach SEO, you have to go and do it. I can give some limited experience of it but the place to do a SEO is in the workplace.

So we really encourage students to go on placements so that they get those experiences and the great platitudes and come back and they’ve got different view in that final year about what– they know that they’re doing, they know where they’re heading, they’re very focused and so that’s great. Then that student will have that experience. If it’s my job to provide graduates who are experienced it’s employers’ jobs to provide that experience.

Interviewer: How do you find the difference between students who have done a placement year versus a student who hasn’t done that placement year? Also, do you ever find any challenges with that in that someone who’s been into a business they’ve done their job for a little while. Do you find that rubs up against kind of some of the learning that they’ve had or that they’re about to receive in their final year?

David: I think it’s counter intuitive because one of the things I’m doing is I’m creating these things called critical thinkers. We know Elon Musk. How many employers are critical thinkers? That business recognises the need for someone to be a trained thinker.

I want someone, when they come back from placement, I expect to be challenged. Some of the things I’m putting out to the practices, ideas about how things work, I want them to say, “Well, that’s not how it works at X.” And I’ll say, “Well, how does it work there? Why is it different to the perceived wisdom or the stuff that everyone else says they do it? Why do you do it differently?” I don’t find a problem, what I find these people realise now what they’re learning in their final year. They know why. They go, “Now I get it.”

It gives them this focus and an understanding and they bring those experiences into their work that they’re doing with me, they can provide examples, they can create this critical thinking thing, that can create yes and they’d say, “Well, it works there but it doesn’t work here.” I never have a problem in that sense. What I’ve got is a more focused thinker who’s got experiences that they can draw on when they’re producing their work.

The work that I provide them with, I don’t just get them to write essays. They’re predominantly producing proposals, reports, schemas, diagrams, campaigns. They are doing practitioner work, I’m asking them to– as an example with my postgrads I ask them to optimise a page, but they need to know why they’re doing it. The ‘why’ is what I’m often providing.

Also, they need to tell me the reasons why they’ve optimised a page in a certain way. On my organically paid stuff, they will probably spend 100 hours optimising more page which you’re never going to do in the real world. Actually, they’re doing more than just doing that one page, they’re thinking of the fundamental principles behind SEO and what they need to think of in that specific content.

Interviewer: What they’re also doing with that is what you do when you optimise a site over a period of time where you reach a point where you’ve done everything that you can do. Then what are you going to do next to take it further? If you’ve only got that one page to focus on once you’ve done 10 hours, the fundamentals are pretty well covered at that point so you’ve got 90 hours left to figure out what you’re going to do. You’ve got to get pretty creative at that time.

David: They do. The other thing is that I’ve effectively created a laboratory for them and they’re working on things that it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work because this is the lab. They might spend a long time looking at one page and then putting forward their suggestions to their client who may or may not take on board what they’ve said.

What I found is students have optimised pages as a team and that class that– I really like the difference you’ve made here because we didn’t think about. One of the things that my students do is they rethink target audiences in many cases.

If you want to get some more traffic to your site get some students to think about the audiences because they think and they haven’t got our baggage, they haven’t got, “Oh, we can’t do it that way.” “Really? Why not.” They just going to be like, “Why not? Why don’t we do it that way? When was the last time you tried?” or “You’ve never done this, have you?” I don’t even know. So give it a go.

They rethink things in that sense. I’ve had postgrads who’ve gone on to then maybe do their dissertation. Again in our place dissertations are not going to the library read all the books you can find, they are, “Go to find a real problem with a real organisation and fix it. There are some books you need to read to understand how to fix it.” I’ve just had a student finish a piece of work with a business that focuses on conversions and she’s done a magnificent piece of work trying to help them understand how they work with their clients around conversion practice.

She had the space to do it, they’ve had no time to think about it, she’s put forward these ideas and they’re going, “Well, they’re great because we never thought of that. We’d never had the time to think about that.” She’s had the experience of working in the conversion sector and is really hot property now. They all are, when they do these practice driven dissertations. They become accomplished on that world, they becoming experts in some cases in the field.

Interviewer: What do you say to the…some of the things that, the quotes I pulled out from some of the stuff I looked at almost forget about the work and what they learn and the practical stuff. We’re almost getting into…we all talk about millennials and what we were talking about last week, we’re sort of done with millennials now and we’re in generation Z now, these people who only…so your students were born in?

David: The students who joined us in September were born in 2000. They’ve got no memory of 9/11 at all. They don’t have a view of a world that we’re quite familiar with. They are in a world that’s been– digital has been there always and they are very comfortable with those environments, they are quite canny, my problem with those terms GenZ, Millennials and all that is that it’s the worst form of segmentation ever.

Interviewer: It is a really broad question. We’ve all been guilty of administering that broad version here.

David: Absolutely. One thing that those certainly unite them is that the digital world isn’t an alien place, it’s not like Mars. It’s just as normal stuff and there’s an expectation that they will operate in that environment and they are very, very comfortable operating as digital naturals. I don’t like the word Natives.

Interviewer: Digital natives, that’s one of those phrases you hear a lot yes.

David: Yes. I’m a digital native and I’m 50.

Interviewer: Yes. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have– there was a time like I had a job at some point briefly where we were faxing things but it was bridge, we still had email and stuff like that.

It’s a funny phrase. Some of the phrases that we talk about people not being able to communicate because of this nature of this being, a digital being prevalent all the time, so they only know how to a text they don’t like talking to people in the real world, don’t want to pick up the phone, those kind of challenges there, entitled is a word you hear an enormous amount when it comes to people who– I think there’s a bit of the fact that a lot of– as you just said your students have paid quite a lot of money to get through you course, and at the end of that you can understand why they might walk into a workplace and say, “Yes, I just spent three, four years paying to learn a lot of stuff, I’m sort of old.”

David: I think the entire I think it’s kind of and I struggle to see that with people I work with. I work with a lot of students, we’ve spent a lot of time bringing people into university where they are the first person in their family, the first Gen they’re called and I recognise that sense of entitlement. I recognise people who are really keen to get into work, are keen to push themselves forward. I see a lot of those students. Those students work very hard. They work part time while they’re studying.

When I went to university, I didn’t have to work part time. I chose to but I didn’t have to. These students have to. To support themselves. When you’re paying £120 a week rent and you’re already borrowing nine and a half thousand pounds a year just for the fees, never mind the living expenses. You know how expensive it is to live. I don’t see a sense of entitlement. What i see is a need to make this work for it to pay off. Because it’s a huge gamble that just as fees alone could range between £27,000 to £36,000 of fees.

Interviewer: How often else in your life, even later on your life do you think,” I’m going to invest £8,000 in something and hopefully it will work out? Let alone when you’re 19 years old.

David: It’s house, car and in between now it is student debt. That’s going to create a certain tension but I don’t recognise entitlement. What I recognise is quick to work out, what’s important, what is not. I think that it’s very easy to live in the past and make decisions around recruitment of employees, around what’s gone on in the past. The universities you go to for employees, the graduates that come out, the employee that you want.

From a learning development point of view, from an HR point of view, just think differently. Are you still trying to get the same people you were 30 years ago. The madness is, many of the employers I speak to now are Millennials. They are these people we’re complaining about. I don’t recognise those ideas about entitlement. What I do recognise is that we’ve moved away from this traditional employer-employee relationship like a supplier-client relationship. Actually, there has to be a change in the way you view that graduate as an employer. They’re almost like consumers because we need way more people than we are provided. Then it’s an absolute shortage of digitally competent communicators.

We can’t afford to keep these very old attitudes which is going to really wind some people up. I always have people come join me and say, “Send me your best graduates.” Are you the best company? Because my grads think maybe Google’s the best company. I don’t think you are Google but you’re probably good enough for them to work for and they are good enough for you.

It’s this…you are going to get into the good enough thing rather than the best thing. Everyone wants the best graduates. They’re in short supply, but everyone is good enough. It’s a power. I think that people have to move away from some of the things that they think they’re after but also start to look a bit wider than the pool that they’ve been looking in.

Interviewer: Yes, sounds to me like also fishing in the right pool as well. Understanding isn’t saying, “I want a graduate.” You really saying, “I want to graduate from this course because I know this course. I know who’s teaching and what they’re teaching.” I understand that rather than just going on graduates who are a bunch of lazy entitled turns. Figure out what it is they’re learning or else they’re doing and then choose. Be the best possible place for them to work at.

David: I think hunting for talent is harder than it was 10 years ago. Harder than it was 20 years ago. You’ve got to go out and get it. It will not just rock up. If you build a job, they will not fill it. That you have got to go out and pull these people in. It’s a long supply chain. One of things I say is, if you’re an employer, what relationship do you have with the supply chain in the university? Do you get involved in the education of these people?

However big or small, your organisation is your brand. How many people in that university know your brand? Why are you not hammering on the door of the people who deliver the learning for that program and get involved? Are you delivering lectures? Are you delivering workshops? Are you providing coaching, employee mentorship support? Are you offering in any placements? Are you offering projects? Are you on the advisory board for the curriculum? Are you offering prizes? Are you sponsoring students?

When I went to uni, quite a few students had sponsorships. They don’t exist now. Very few people get sponsored. You got to think, well, if you’re out there and you’re seen to be advocating people’s futures inside the university. I know right now you’ll stand out, because you’re one of the few people doing it.

Interviewer: Absolutely. You want people to be used to come in and be good to what you want to do. So be it. Be a part of what they learn.

David: Absolutely.

Interviewer: That makes sense, doesn’t it?

David: Some firms, I’ve got this nailed. What they realise is they have to invest in this activity. It’s a risk, it takes people out the business, it takes people time, but you can’t just leave it to fate. You’ve got to get in early and get to the top of these. This is classic marketing. Get the mindshare of these people. Get ambassadors. When people are interested in you, you want them throwing…..at you, and they will because you might be one of the few people who’s gone in and taken an interest. Students will always take note of somebody who’s taken interest in them throughout their careers. Done something for them that has been very visible.

It’s quite interesting looking at who is very visible at our university, big and small. Big organisations can do it. Actually, I don’t think that that’s as helpful as a small organisation for example, when you go in and literally deliver perhaps an aspect of the curriculum. Train people to do something that you would like them to be able to do if they joined your organisation. Those are lectures, find those things really useful because they bring the real world into the curriculum and demonstrate the relevance to everything else that’s going on.

Interviewer: Is it, from your point of view, let’s assume that we’ve– you’re a business, you’ve employed a graduate, you’ve got people here and maybe you’re one of these businesses that say, ” This person isn’t delivering. They’re not performing. They are not–” What does a business need to do to create the environment ultimately? I appreciate it. Not every graduate is going to succeed everywhere. We are again with a broad brush approach to this whole process. What do businesses need to do to help the graduates to succeed?

David: I think, obviously, be involved early. I work with firms who say, “We want to get involved in the first year.” That by the time they literally leave University, they know about us, and maybe they’ve had time with us. That’s not really the case for everyone. Some people have arrived having never experienced that organisation before. I think you have to think that what you’ve got is lot of quite raw talent. You will have to train up people in the way of doing things too.

I always remember that there was a big commotion about students leaving us and not knowing how to use Photoshop. Have you seen how expensive Photoshop is? If we got every student a license for that, we wouldn’t be able afford to teach them. Actually, Photoshop is an operational tool, which evolves regularly. What if you’re an organisation that doesn’t use Photoshop? If someone has learned to use Photoshop, there’s no point for an organisation that doesn’t use it. Plenty of organisations from a graphics standpoint choose not to.

What we’ll give them is principles that allow them to drop into any of those tools within a small amount of training and then be able to use it. There’s no point in me trying to show them how to use Photoshop but then giving no graphic design stuff behind it.

Interviewer: When I see a tool it’s no good being able to use- it’s just a piece of software. It’s no good. You don’t know what you want to do with it. Then if you are not creative enough or you don’t have some sort of idea of the mechanics of what you want to achieve.

David: Universities aren’t for training. They are for education. Training is a day. Education is over a period of time in which a person grows intellectually. It’s that growth that you should be recruiting for. The ability to think critically, the ability to know how to make decisions. The ability to be able to pick up skills quickly in technical things. If you just want somebody like who is Adwords trained professional gun, get one off an advert of course but what you’re going to get from me is somebody who can. pick up Adwords with quickly and they know why. The know why not and I think that I’m going to…I hide underneath the digital marketing veneer of critical thinking.

I don’t mention it very often but you want people who are discriminating, who are creative, who are able to see past the shiny and get into the crux of a problem and come up with solutions. I know where they came from. Well, now we have this whole idea that you can do this with a digital marketing framework from my students. So They come up with those two sets. I’m a digital marketer who can think as opposed to I’m just somebody who does Adwords.

Interviewer: What more do we want as an agency? What more do our clients want? That’s what they want from us, first the challenges, first the questions, first think about the problem and provide another solution….

David: I think the environments people need to create are ones where you’re picking someone who’s trained to think and is critical and has some skills. Have a pathway into your organisation that allows them to get up to speed with the day job. If they aren’t already doing it and have arrived with you. You can’t just drop people, whether they’ve had 50 years experience or five minutes experience into something in an organisation and expect it to be immediately valuable. You’ve got to really think about what values do you want this person to create within a month, six months, in a year. Some people learn very fast and I think you got to accept that training has to happen.

I do believe…and I’m sure I’m going to get shot down in flames. There are organisations that do not invest in their stuff. We know what we know. We’ve seen them. They’re talked about on environments like Glass door and on the various social media platforms. There may be a reason why you don’t get the right people because people have heard about you and then that’s affecting the kind of people who are applying. If you’ve not been on Glass door it’s an eye-opener. I would check your own organisation there. Effectively, people are reviewing it.

They are rating your organisation for it’s the ability to employ people you know the tables turned absolutely.

You’ve got to create that environment for new recruits to arrive and that is focused on getting them out you want to invest in them to get the most out of them. But you’re not investing in an empty vessel. You’ve got something that has the capability to move into that quite quickly. Use your recruitment process. I am disturbed by some recruitment processes.

If you are recruiting wisely if you are doing a proper recruiting process there’s a reason why you’re not getting the right people. Write job ads correctly, be very clear about what you want. Look for things like the organisational fit the cultural fit. Look at how realistic are you about what you want someone to achieve on day one. Set up the graduate with experience. If someone got the experience they know exactly where they can go with that and it might not be…

Interviewer: You do have to be realistic about the size you are what you have to offer. You can’t just, “We’re the greatest thing since sliced bread,” so therefore everyone should want to come here. You have to be realistic in your in your project.

David: They are discerning, those graduates. They’re very discerning in who they’ll work for. Some organisations are feeling the brunt of that. There are some qualities of Millennials. They are they are concerned about the environment. I’m concerned about the environment but they are making decisions about who they’ll work for. Into some extent, I interview them…they might be interviewing you.

Interviewer: I think anybody that goes into any interview without that attitude is pretty foolish. If that’s your- you are going to receive an interviewer. I’m assuming that every person wants to do it can be the best possible person. I want them to think that we’re a great place to work. Again will who really goes in with that bullish attitude of Apprentice-style interviews is potentially to going to scare off someone that could be your best possible employee.

David: But if you want that experience, you have to provide it. There is a social contract here. You cannot demand graduates for that experience if you’re not providing us experiences. I’m going to say something which really are controversial. You can’t have internships that are unpaid now. I hear it quite well. I did one when I was a uni and I said that’s fine but you came- you went to a certain university. You came from a certain background. You were- it was possible for you to do that.

Interviewer: Last year, last folk arts we met Simon who’s just joined us to an interview. He was part of five people that got to the final stage for an unpaid internship for TBWA I think it was. That’s a lot of competition for a job that doesn’t pay anyone.

David: Ironically the research on unpaid internships is not helpful because you are less likely to get a job as a result of having an unpaid internship than if you simply did nothing at all.

Interviewer: Really? Why is that?

David: Well, those of you perhaps that maybe you’re not- you don’t value yourself. Actually, there’s a view that maybe there are people who can’t afford to take unpaid internships and actually they are quite talented so they look for other routes to do that. I don’t think that anyone who’s ever worked at McDonald’s has no ability to deal with customers. I think it’s a great training ground. That Friday night McDonald’s you learn to deal a lot of situations, handle people, deal with things. It’s good experiences. If you, for example, offer a paid internship, you’re going to open up an opportunity to somebody who isn’t in a financial position to work for nothing.

You are opening the talent pool up. I was with a lot of students who come from tough backgrounds, tough parts of Manchester. They might be the first person to go to university in their street in their family. They are not in a position to not work. If you can say, “Well, you’re studying in that subject, that subject naturally leads to our industry. We’d like you to work more or two days a week for money in our industry, so you get those skills that we are asking for in our job adverts.” It’s an investment. It’s a risk but it’s not a considerable risk.

I used to joke that there were companies who spent more on the flowers in their reception than they did on a day’s wage for internships. Stick your intern in the reception and say,”Look that’s where our money is going, not on flowers but in natural humans.”

Interviewer: I heard it’s also an expectation as well that for a business. If I’ve got an intern that is here, and not paying for them. Are they are doing a good job? Or are they not doing a good job? How much do I really care about that? I don’t know because ultimately they are not paying for them so if you do a little bit then it’s all right. Whereas as soon as you’re paying someone…

Interviewer: That’s a different contract

Interviewer: Yes. They’re getting paid so they feel a sense they actually do need to do something because they get paid for it and likewise you drive it because you know you’re paying them some money.

Interviewer: I think it’s really valuable. You’re widening the talent pool that you can look at. They’re good road tests you can see what someone’s like from a person’s personal perspective and actually if you are paying somebody for a days work you might tap the investment more seriously and make sure that they get the development they need to be able to at least give you something back.

David: One last question before we go. You know probably better than anyone how to relate to a lot of the younger people that come in through universities. How should businesses motivate those people? The ones that again say headed this thing- this phrase of entitled, they’re kind of lethargic, they’re not energised or whatever. What do employers need to be doing in giving these people will to get them teed up and focused on success?”

Interviewer: Rip out the bullpens. Get rid of the fridge full of beers. Because actually, they’re interesting but that’s not what I’m interested in. What people are interested in is money and you can see it’s important.

David: Yes. You can earn it.

Interviewer: What training and development will I get while I’m here? What interesting things will I be working on? What are the people like? Have you got interesting people to work with? Do you have clear roots around succession planning? If I’m here for say a period of time, what can I expect in terms of promotion? What’s your pension plan? People are asking that question. That’s more important than bullpens. Work that people enjoy, that they are proud of and can be proud of those are really important things that employers need to look at.

Interviewer: Brilliant. Well, thank you very much David, I really appreciate you coming in today. I hope you found that interesting. As David says, get in touch with your local university, if you’re an agency or you’re a business and you want to get better graduates you want to improve the statistics, it sounds like the simplest thing you can do is work closely with the university or be part of the process instead of someone that complains about the end result of it.

David: Talk to us about our one day internships through our agency life program and that’s specifically for students around marketing, retail, advertising, digital provide projects, we always need them. We have our full-time MSc additional marketing coms, that’s a great program. If you don’t have a degree and you’re one of these people that you just can’t do anything. I was one of those people. One time did a degree, first thing I had to do was get another one where I actually learn this job you’re going to do…

David: We’ve got this digital marketing course program and about half the people on that are from degrees like Geography, English, Archaeology and so on. We’re just launching a globally learning, Digital Marketing Masters for people who are already in work and have been in say the business for say 5, 10, 15 years and need to move to more of a digital focus…or they might be a specialist niche digital player, they need to have a more broader understanding of that realm. That’s actually starting next month. Obviously that’s going to be a program that rolls and rolls and rolls. It’s all about…I mean we have a massive, massive shortage of entry level, junior mid-level and senior digital people.

I do my damnedest to get out on fast enough but the demand increases faster than the speed of whole production. Those people are really hot property and they are literally falling out of the university and into roles with organisations because they recognise the university that come from, a lot of people know who I am and what I’ve been doing the going to see exactly what I’ve been asking for.

Interviewer: Thank you very much for coming

David: Thank you.

Interviewer: We’ll see you next time.