Is all the skill being made redundant in the Pre-Media industry?

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Well the recession is well and truely with us and tearing through the industry like a torando with the big companies bailing staff overboard like a sinking ship, while smaller companies struggle to maintain their small footprints with lowering incomes. But what is the true damage that we can see, are we at risk of pushing all of the really skilled people out of the industry and into burger flipping jobs just to feed their families?

The traditional reaction to any crisis is to start laying off staff, but how many of these businesses look for a long term strategy to ride the storm, this isn’t to say that staff would still not lose their jobs, but at least there is a plan that can be communicated though the business.

We also see a lack of young staff being educated into the business (why would we when there are so few jobs to go around) but these young people with the modern views on communication are the future of our industry and thus we should be investing in their education, they should be learning what we have done previously and modernising it; yet the lack of structured apprenticeships / traineeships leave us to employ staff with limited skills on relatively high salaries.

This leads me onto another point, not only do we not properly invest in existing staff and new young staff but we also don’t vet our new positions properly; at both my previous employers we had artwork tests to see how much the people could get right in the test as to how suitable they were for the position, sometimes it weeded out the completely useless people, but other times they crept through, why? well we had no real metrics to qualify the results, and during our busy days they potential employees could sit there for an hour or more with the text, something a good person would take 10 minutes to complete….. But is this enough? and how many of these people invest in their own career when looking to change positions? I remember when Indesign started becoming a prominent application in the pre-media departments and we looked for people who were skilled in the application….. what we got where Quark operators who had the ability to adapt to an application that (at the time) wasn’t to different from Quark, but now, a completely different situation. How many people do you know that have taken and passed the Adobe Certified Expert exam’s? Ask yourself now, how many of your current staff even know they exist and could pass them without any revision, i.e. send them for the test today….. what would their percantage be? 30%, 50%, 90%. you may have a shock as to hopw little your top paid staff actually know about the application!

So should the recruitment agencies actually vet our potential candidates better for us, I mean they receive a finders fee that is a percentage of the employed staff members salary, they could use a test similar to that of the ACE exam’s to provide us with a competency level of them for each of our design application requirements. Could this be helped by software manufacturer deigning the texts for us/them? For instance, could Markzware provide a test for Flightcheck for us to text those who claim to be proficient in Flightcheck to actually prove how well they know it, of the Enfocus products for that matter, really any software that is used the in Pre-media arena, maybe I’ve just identified another business opportunity for myself and therefore copyright the idea of Pre-Media Proficiency exams across pre-media applications….

Author: Gary George

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