Over half of media businesses struggle to recruit, despite widespread redundancies

05 June 2024

Research from leading audit, tax and consultancy firm RSM UK has found that almost all media businesses surveyed* (99%) have made redundancies over the past 12 months. Despite this, more than half (60%) have found recruitment challenging over the past year.

Mandy Girder, Head of Media Industry, RSM UK said: ‘As new technology such as AI emerges it’s important for media businesses to ensure they are well prepared to meet future demands and compete in the market long term. This means assessing the current workforce, anticipating future needs, and plugging any skills gaps. But while recruiters struggle to find people with the right mix of technology and media skills, those working in the media are trying to keep up with the pace of change, and some may worry their once in-demand skills are now becoming obsolete.’

Despite widespread redundancies in the sector, many media businesses remain positive about their long-term future, with over half (54%) saying they feel optimistic. 

Mandy Girder continues: ‘While most media businesses are feeling optimistic about the future, retaining staff with the right skills set remains a concern. Skills shortages in data analytics, content creation and digital skills are widespread. Media businesses lucky enough to find the right people need to work harder than ever to retain them, which means providing compelling incentives such as share options, training, and career development so staff feel valued and want to stay.’

RSM’s research found that only a third (34%) of media businesses offered their employees a share options scheme, suggesting there may be plenty more scope for businesses to offer this incentive to help drive recruitment and retention.

As the war for talent continues, media businesses are already looking at overseas workers to meet demand, with a quarter (25%) of media businesses saying they have employees from overseas working for them temporarily, and a further quarter (25%) having recruited permanent workers from overseas. As flexible and hybrid working options are expected, particularly among Millennials and Gen Z staff, almost a quarter (23%) of media businesses said they have people working abroad on a temporary basis. 

Mandy Girder concludes: ‘Recruiting from overseas can make sense for businesses that can’t find the specific skills they need here in the UK, and overseas opportunities can be appealing for UK workers who want to broaden their horizons. Businesses do however need to be fully aware of the visa, legal and tax implications of overseas recruitment, and ensure they have the right policies in place to support staff and mitigate risks.’

Mandy  Girder
Associate Director, Head of Media
Mandy  Girder
Associate Director, Head of Media