Up here in Yorkshire, there’s loads of roles going at Senior / Midweight Planner level, but no-one to fill them. I’ve had many conversations recently with recruiters and agencies about this, but the reason is obvious really – no-one trained them.
With the exception of Sarah at Home and Joey at CreativeRace / Intermarketing, as far as I know no-one has been training up Junior Planners round here for a good few years – so not only are there no Juniors, there are no Juniors that turned into Seniors. There have been a few account handlers and researchers who moved over into Planning, but proper T-shaped Planners with the full component of skills and experience are very thin on the ground and (with the exception of Joey and Sarah) its our own faults for not finding raw talent and taking the time to train them up.
I can understand how we’ve got here and to be fair I’ve contributed to the problem – Planning/Strategy agency teams Up North tend to be only 1-3 people (Sarah’s team seems to be heading for double figures, but that’s the exception round here) and with limited time and budgets the temptation is to focus on doing as much as you can yourself then bringing in outside help to plug any gaps. Training up a Junior is expensive in terms of training time, it can be tricky to find enough work in a mid-sized Northern agency to safely let a wet behind the ears Junior Planner loose on and with regular games of Planning Musical Chairs between agencies you might not even be around to enjoy the fruits of all that work – or another agency might nick them from under your nose, just as they become really useful to you.
I’m about to start a new role where I’ll probably need my own Midweight Planner in due course and I’m already wondering where on earth I’ll find one. If you are at Senior Planner level and you fancy a change of scene, call a recruiter asap because there are empty desks waiting for you all over Yorkshire.