PPA Festival: CEOs Discuss Employee Potential

In May, Karine and Julie attended the PPA Festival, the leading business media and publishing event of the year. More than 700 professionals gathered to network and attend panels throughout the day.

THE X FACTOR discussion, chaired by Kathleen Saxton (founder of The Lighthouse Company), was one of the highlights of the day. The theme of this panel was how to find talent and nurture employee potential.

The guest speakers were:

Kevin Costello, CEO, Haymarket Media Group
Amanda Barnes, CEO, Faversham House Group
Jonathon Whiteley, CEO, Incisive Media

 

The three panellistsinsightful advice is relevant for graduates and experienced professionals alike. When asked to share their vision of leadership, they highlighted the importance of creating a good culture within the company. In order for employees to be successful, leaders need to provide a supportive and stimulating environment to be successful. A motivated team, which shares the company’s values, is more a guarantee of success than a good leader.

The panel had to answer the common questions about how to break into the industry. The CEOs replied they were generally open to a wide range of profiles as long as candidates match their culture.

Some smaller businesses like Incisive Media do not have apprenticeships, but others like Haymarket Media offer training programs where graduates learn a set of relevant skills to enter the industry. The CEO stated that 75% of their trainees were subsequently hired. For Faversham House, being based in Sussex can be an impediment to attracting talent. As a result, the company tends to hire entry level or fairly junior staff and focus on its employees’ strengths, helping them to develop their career according to their skills and personality.

All the speakers agreed that school and university leavers wishing to enter the industry should focus  on soft skills, as it is attitude which makes a candidate outstanding. Good communication skills and self-confidence are highly valued by employers, as well as taking initiative and seeking feedback to continually improve oneself.

The digital revolution has also had an impact on the kind of skills employers are looking for. With their constant development, data and technology are the two big areas where roles have changed drastically. The people working in B2B publishing have changed too: they need be more agile and develop their adaptability. The CEO of Haymarket pointed out that it has become harder to find talent for the digital sector as there is a real shortage of candidates. To solve this issue Haymarket is trying to develop and build their own talent pool via apprenticeships.

If you are a motivated candidate with great communication skills who wants to work in digital publishing, this is a good time for you!

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