Your Shout: Millennials in the workplace

Live the agency's ideals and the rewards will be great, says Jessica Hargreaves, joint managing director at Pretty Green.

Jessica Hargreaves, joint managing director at Pretty Green, talks about apprenticeships
Jessica Hargreaves, joint managing director at Pretty Green, talks about apprenticeships

There has been much said in the media about the rise of the millennial in the workplace. These are the tech-savvy, highly ambitious workers born after 1980. We are very lucky at Pretty Green to have an amazing bunch of millennials working within our office. There are only a handful of us within a team of 45 who can remember the days of fax machines, overhead projectors, chrome pens and image transparencies.

This situation offers some great benefits. Our agency is founded upon the principle of creating ‘life-defining moments’, therefore staff are in the perfect age bracket to take full advantage. Experiences such as testing the Olympic Stadium track before the London 2012 opening ceremony, partying with stars backstage at V Festival and watching the work on RedBull Stratos go live from the office are all moments we will never forget. 

Younger millennials are used to a world where everything is instant, from opinions on Twitter and content on YouTube to connections on Facebook. And as greater numbers of that generation enter our business, we are finding that we have to remind our new team players that not everything can be so instantaneous, particularly in the field of experiential. Our new recruits are passionate and hungry, aspects that our business needs to evolve and succeed, but they are also in an amazing hurry.

The hard reality is that there is an apprenticeship to be completed. You cannot be doing all the exciting things you love all the time. This fact can lead to levels of disillusionment within agencies and increase the desire to job-hop – Event reported in January that 50 per cent of experiential professionals are looking for a new job.

I passionately believe that to become an effective senior account handler you need to run a range of campaigns – from high-profile, immersive brand experiences all the way to in-store sampling – and experience everything that can potentially go wrong in between. Only then can you understand the mechanics of budgets and timelines, and lead the creative process for clients. Experience is everything.

There are also rewards for loyalty and doing the long, hard yards. I look around my senior team and the core has been with the agency for more than four years – this is vital for an understanding of culture and delivery. When I see a CV with constant change and new job levels it rings alarm bells, because I see candidates who have achieved the titles but not the experience.

My message to new starters in the events world is simple: no job can be perfect all the time. Align yourself with your agency’s mantras for the long term, immersing yourself in every detail of each project, however unglamorous, and you will reap the rewards in your future careers. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a career.

Jessica Hargreaves is joint managing director at Pretty Green.

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