I wince each time I’m watching India doing well in a cricket match and the commentator gushes about the ‘one billion Indians’ who are cheering the team on (the chief culprit would be Sir Geoffrey Boycott).
One billion Indians have never watched a match. Many of those one billion Indians do not have access to water and electricity. Many of those one billion Indians have never had access to media of any kind. Many of those one billion Indians have never seen a cricket bat, let alone a television. Many of those one billion Indians have never heard of Sachin Tendulkar.
There are plenty of Sir Geoffreys around. Like the people who don’t fear the talent shortage that advertising and media agencies face.
Because they look at the statistics and talk about the hundreds of thousands of MBAs that India produces each year. The many more graduates that we spew out. How many of them have heard about advertising and media? How many of those who have heard of advertising and media are inclined to a career in advertising and media? How many of the remainder are good? Keep adding filters and the numbers will come down to a few thousand.
That’s why the most critical people in our business will be people we hardly hear about – the HR managers. The first task will be to keep the flock together. The second task will be to find a way to attract the best graduates that this country is producing. And the third, most important task, will be to help managers right size and right-skill (if there’s such a word. If there isn’t, it needs to exist) with the changed paradigms of the industry in mind.
Oh, I forgot. Where are the HR managers?