Breaking Barriers to Entry: Key Takeaways from Impact’s Roundtable

Fri, 14 Jun 2024
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Impact’s co-founder, Jules Dosne, recently hosted an inspiring and insightful roundtable on ‘Barriers to Entry’ in collaboration with the London College of Communication (LCC).

As part of Impact’s ‘Future Proofing Talent through Diversity’ Programme, this event brought together industry professionals and course leaders for a brilliant discussion filled with innovative ideas and valuable insights.

We covered several key topics, including perceptions of diversity, future-proofing diversity initiatives, the importance of role models and ambassadors, and sharing tips from industry alongside valuable student perspectives. Here are our key takeaways:


Educating the Workforce on Diversity and Inclusion

Business Education: Emphasis on educating businesses about the value of diversity and inclusion, particularly concerning graduates from diverse backgrounds.

Partnerships for Training: Collaboration with partners such as Creative Access to facilitate line manager training ahead of summer internships, ensuring managers are equipped to mentor and develop individuals from diverse backgrounds effectively.


Tracking and Measuring Diversity Initiatives

Data Review: Consensus on reviewing ethnicity and gender statistics across levels and assessing exit interview data.

Leadership Turnover Challenge: Acknowledgement of the challenge in lack of senior leadership turnover, preventing an increase in broader leadership representation.

Quotas and Targets: Mixed responses on the introduction of quotas and targets, with a shared emphasis on maintaining ongoing conversations about diversity.

Bold Campaigns: Utilisation of bold, creative talent attraction campaigns to signal a commitment to diversity.

Inclusive Culture: Standardising processes, mixed interview panels, and unconscious bias training are critical in fostering an inclusive culture.


Role Models and Ambassadors

Community and Networking: Students crave an environment of community and networking, underscoring the importance of role models and ambassadors.

Industry Collaboration: LCC’s collaboration with industry speakers and ambassadors showcases diverse and unconventional routes into the industry.

Inspiring Partnerships: Partnerships with schools and charities to inspire students before further education decisions and mentoring programmes targeting lower socio-economic and diverse backgrounds.


Bridging the Gap Between Education and Industry

Graduate Expectations: Addressing the disparity between new graduates’ expectations and the realities of entry-level roles.

Commercial Readiness: Consensus that portfolios should be commercially ready, not just compiled for grading.

Broad Thinking: Encouragement for students to think broadly about how their creativity fits industry needs.


Tips for Early Talent

CV Requirements: Some agencies have removed CV requirements for entry-level applications, focusing instead on tactical skills and behaviours.

Extracurricular Activities: Demonstrating a ‘side hustle’ and engaging in extracurricular activities helps candidates stand out.

Owning Experiences: Understanding that some students have financial demands or caring responsibilities preventing them from undertaking more relevant extracurricular activities—industry advice is to own these experiences and articulate their value.

Passion and Responsibility: The importance of showing passion, responsibility, and the ability to articulate experiences.

Recognition of Graduates: Non-graduates are also valued, with degrees still seen as indicative of commitment, passion, and career direction.

Selling Yourself: Emphasis on selling oneself for a role and the ability to confidently critique and discuss work are standout attributes the industry seeks.

Presentation Skills: Encouragement for early talent to bring fresh perspectives, practice good body language, and maintain eye contact.


Embracing AI and Technology

Leveraging AI: Early careers talent has an incredible opportunity to leverage AI to drive efficiencies and add value positively.

Individuality in Applications: Consensus that using tools like ChatGPT for applications and CVs is discouraged. Employers value individuality in applications, which remains crucial.


Industry Drivers for Change

Diversification Drivers: Clarifying the industry drivers for diversifying are centred around client creative work and ideation. The desire to deliver diverse perspectives and meet clients’ demands for representation of the world we live in.

By bringing industry and academia together, we aim to tackle barriers to entry, foster a more inclusive workforce, and prepare the next generation of talent to thrive in a competitive market.

A huge thanks to Carrie-Anne Woodard, Sheriff Showobi, Bridget Flatley, Laetitia Askew, Daisy Hall, Rachel Lenihan, Kate Grealish, Marc Vickery, Louisa Wetton, Carly David, Jonathan Wright, Lainy Malkani, Jackie Raphael-Luu, Chiara Minestrelli, Sam Brooker for your valuable insights and contributions.

Our thanks to Omnicom Media Group UK for enabling Impact to host at your fabulous offices.