Jobs in Media: Slow & Unsteady

26 Aug,2013


By Johnson Napier


With news of employees being given the pink slip occupying news space almost frequently, the going has been getting tough for many in the Media & Entertainment sector. While experts and analysts had predicted a recovery a few quarters ago, the situation seems to be almost static or on the downfall in some cases.


When MxMIndia had spoken to experts almost a year ago, the opinion seemed divided on the prospects of a recovery. Whether the situation has changed and whether jobs will be hard to come by at this juncture is anybody’s guess. We speak to the job experts to assess the situation…


Abha Kapoor, Executive Director, K&J Search Consultants

The turbulent economic environment that is marred by tight liquidity, slow economic growth, the devaluing rupee and rising inflation has impacted advertising revenues. Subscription revenues are far below their potential as the benefits of digitization are yet to kick in. With margins under pressure many media companies are in consolidation mode whereby they are rationalizing marketing, distribution, programming and people costs. The hiring sentiment is therefore subdued. In fact, hiring is happening mainly at junior and mid levels with almost no movement at senior levels. This ensures that costs are low and fresh young talent comes in. Contractual/consultant hiring is also on the upswing. Specialist professionals are being pulled in for specific projects and not on payroll basis thereby controlling the fixed costs, in an extremely dynamic industry scenario.


Also, the M&E sector has been overvalued and over leveraged in the past and hence in the current scenario, funding to this sector is further constrained. Therefore new initiatives/expansion plans with the exception of digital/new media have slowed down or are on hold which means – fewer start-ups and fewer replacement requirements as professionals hold on to their jobs!”


Ashish Pherwani, Partner, Media & Entertainment, Ernst & Young LLP

The first quarter of FY13-14 has seen some good results from companies, whether television, print or radio, and there has certainly been both ad volume and (a slight) rate growth. The new reality is that one can expect a tough working environment till the next elections. There are several positives for the media industry today such as increased revenues from DAS, rising cover prices of newspapers, the (always) imminent Phase III of radio licensing, and rising box-office collections of films on the one side, but this is being countered by a weakening rupee which is pushing up prices, falling stock markets and investor confidence, slowdown in some industrial sectors like auto, etc. It’s a precarious balance, and the winners will be those who can optimise costs, deliver audiences, and demonstrate that delivery.


Pankaj Raj, Director, Search Value Consultants Pvt Ltd

The M&E sector is poised to double in size by 2017. With a surge in digitization and a future forward election year approaching, the sector is poised to see sustainable growth.

It’s easier today for global media organisations to dig deep in the market. They have understood localisation of content and strategy is the biggest leverage in the market.

To produce this for the consuming millions, it is necessary to tap into relevant talent which now upgrades itself as fast as technology.

The job market in the M&E has been slow in the last few quarters but there is still a lot opportunity for people having three specific competencies


1) Ability to work and deliver in chaos and difficult situations

2) People who have a genuine consumer and customer connect

3) Can reinvent themselves with changing times and situations and regulations. What got me here is not going to take me further.


Another trend we are picking up is the opening up of relatively unheard of sectors in the media space - digital, digitised distribution, VFX, online video, films finally seeing a level of corporatisation, the opportunities are still aplenty for the right people. One needs people with new skills to run these domains and hence this opens up parallel industries of training, creativity and new age leadership modes.


Lastly, the sector seems to be open to the “non-media” talent like never before. There are many examples of people who joined the sector from consumer facings business backgrounds and have made a success of themselves.


Sarabjeet Sachar, Founder & CEO, Aspiration

The media sector is in a bad shape at the moment with the advertising revenues plummeting by significant levels. With reducing value of rupee, rising inflation etc traditional mediums like newspaper, television, radio, out of home etc are either in a static state or have gone down. If one were to see the hiring trends taking place right now, it is taking place in the digital and mobile domains. It will probably take a long time for a recovery to happen; I presume it will take even longer after the elections are over. If an economy like US takes about five years, we may take double of that to return to normalcy.


From the business perceptive, the only domains where there is action being witnessed is experiential marketing and digital and mobile. Also, hiring is taking place at the junior level while at the middle and senior level there is hardly anything being witnessed.


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One response to “Jobs in Media: Slow & Unsteady”

  1. PepGuru says:

    Interesting piece. What really amazes me is most HR Consultants don’t do basic mapping of the market. Eg. Specialist media agencies who are hiring for a sports channel, don’t even get possible candidates from other sports verticals. Moreover, they just drag out old cv’s for a current opening and try to force fit the candidate, so that the client feels some work has been done. Again, its good to have young legs on the ground, but most HR consultants are unable to convince their clients that they need to navigate tough times with people who have faced similar tough cycles in the past