New year, new job scene?

03 Jan,2013


By Tuhina Anand


We know that 2012 was not a great year as far as the job market was concerned, hence a general sense of uncertainty prevailed. That holds true for those in the creative business too. However, the year did see some movement of key leaders of an agency to another, and hence it was not really devoid of any such hype that surrounds when a biggie moves from one agency to another. Year 2013 is also being touted as a year where caution will be the mantra, thus job opportunities will be available but not in abundance, and hiring will be done after much consideration.


Understanding the current scenario, we at mxmindia decided to talk to few creative people who made the transition from one agency to another last year and understand how easy or difficult that transition was for them. Also we try to take a peek and understand some rules that would help those looking at a transition in the year 2013 and what would be few key attributes that would help them in making a smooth shift and adapting to a new environment. Besides, we also try to understand that while everyone is lamenting the lack of jobs available in the market, what really made these professionals make that leap and make them a desirable candidate in such a gloomy job environment.


Bobby Pawar

At the start of the year in 2012, Bobby Pawar took reins as the Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner of JWT India. He was moving from a biggie Mudra which was undergoing a transition to another biggie thus there was speculation galore. He was in fact welcomed by his ex-agency on his first day at work at JWT thus making some wonder whether Mudra was so very happy to bid goodbye to Mr Pawar.


However for Mr Pawar, his agenda was clear. He had come on board with a vision to raise the bar at JWT and bring in few changes that would help him to that. Along with Colvyn Harris, Mr Pawar went on executing his plan. Talking about the transition, Mr Pawar said, “Understanding and adapting to a new place takes time. It is about understanding how much are you willing to push boundaries in a new set up as you are still getting to know the people you get to work with and understanding the culture of the place. However, at a senior level, if you have come on board that is with a view to bring in few changes and that is a challenge as to when, how and to what extent are you going to bring about that change without bringing a disruption among the existing talent pool.”


He said, “One has to learn to be patient in adapting to a new place. While I might like to take out a pen and start doing my own things to expedite results but that should not be the case as it will deter others working with you. It’s a fine balance that one has to maintain. Understanding the new clients and their issues too requires patience. I think one has to be absolutely clear as to what one wants to do when one makes a shift. There is no scope for half measures to go ahead in your career, that’s just not done.”


Sanjay Thapar

Another shift that got the media buzzing was of Sanjay Thapar moving from Ogilvy to Bates India as its CEO. For Mr Thapar, the move is significant not because of the lofty designation he acquired but because of the task ahead at Bates. Beset with issues where the agency saw many of its senior resources move out, the task for Mr Thapar clearly is to catapult the agency to the big league. On the move, Mr Thapar said, “Both Bates and Ogilvy are from WPP so there is culture that runs common. Having said that, if you ask me if it is as good or bad as I had expected, let me say that the job has just begun. But one thing is clear that in terms of opportunity there is immense potential.”


He says that when one is looking for a change it clearly has to do with the individual’s aspiration and what he or she wants to do ahead in life with respect to his or her job. For those looking for a change in 2013, Mr Thapar suggests that one has to keep in mind that when one moves to a new place consider starting from ground zero, so basically start from the scratch and second attribute that’s necessary is to have an ability to take quick decisions and make them work.


Manoj Kandoth, Chief Consultant at Urjja which is a human resources and business consulting company and does lot of hiring for the agency points that while job scene was conservative in 2012, he seems to be bullish about 2013 especially in the telecom and FMCG sector. He points that telecom has seen a robust growth which then also reflects on the ad spends thereby also in the way hiring is done by agencies to service this sector. He said, “When making a shift, one should not think of the size of the agency but clearly the portfolio of clients that one gets to handle at the new job.” There has been rise on the spends on the digital media hence one will see a demand for professionals who understand and cater to this medium.


Rana Barua

While we have seen the adaptability issues when one moves from one agency to another, what really happens when one moves from a different media to advertising? Rana Barua who joined as the COO of Law & Kenneth from the radio industry, said, “For me it was coming back to advertising after spending few years at a different medium. Still, I would say that it does take almost a month to get into the groove. But I see the move as a positive comeback where I have acquired a multi-dimensional experience and been on the other side thus coming with a different perspective.”


He said, “At a new place one has to be open minded and be ready to embrace the new culture besides try to value add to the new organization every single day however small that addition may be.”


Interestingly he points that in today’s time advertising needs people who are multi-dimensional hence a person who cannot just think TVC but print and be a digital expert too. So according to him while the job scene will continue to tight in 2013 but there will be demand for such multi-talented people. The classical strait-jacketed people might find it difficult to make a switch only because the way talent is being looked upon now is different.


So the year might look tough but not for those who are willing to take risks. As Mr Pawar of JWT rightly said, “I might have the visiting card with a designation that looks impressive but unless I demonstrate how I can make things happen, nobody will take my visiting card seriously.”


So the year may be tough but not for those who are willing to push boundaries and show that they are made of tougher stuff. If you demonstrate that then a job switch might just seem like the easiest issue in 2013.


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