'Unfulfilled' senior media talent eye-up Twitter, Google, C4 and Facebook

The UK's most desirable media companies to work for are Twitter, Google, Channel 4 and Facebook, according to a survey of top executives, which also identified growing company promiscuity among employees.

Saxton: 'Flawed management is the root of the problem'
Saxton: 'Flawed management is the root of the problem'

The four companies were mentioned more than any others as places people would like to work, in a study of 140 C-suite executives from across the media and advertising landscape, commissioned by headhunters The Lighthouse Company.

However, the study also highlighted "a clear lack of succession management and leadership planning", and a general perception that the media industry does not value its employees enough.

More than a third (37%) of senior executives believe the industry just pays lip service to caring for its people, according to the survey conducted by Work Research.

Some 69% of leaders believe the industry is ineffective in dealing with poor performing staff and 61% of them believe that media companies are poor at planning succession management.  
In addition, only 8% believe the industry gives its current generation of managers the right training to become the next generation of leaders, leaving businesses potentially exposed to future instability and uncertainty.

The research did find that optimism in growth prospects remained fairly high (59% in agreement), but suggests loyalty in the media industry is low, with only 7% of top executives believing staff are truly loyal, compared to 32% considered to be "deeply disloyal".

In further bad news, satisfaction levels as we enter the fourth year since Lehman Brothers collapsed are also currently low. The majority of senior executives admit to feeling "unfulfilled" in their current roles.

Kathleen Saxton, founder and chief executive of The Lighthouse Company, attributed the negative findings down to "a lack of professional fulfilment within the industry".

She added: "Flawed management is the root of the problem. Businesses are leaving themselves exposed to risk, especially as there is an evident lack of succession management and leadership planning, which we would not expect to find in other professional service industries."

The most common skills gaps across the industry surround creative technology, mobile, data/econometrics and social media.

Meanwhile, despite salaries and bonuses in the media struggling to compete with those offered in the City, the lure of a significant pay-out in the eventuality of an IPO or sale continues to be the most attractive incentive to attract new talent.

The survey comes in the same month Facebook filed its IPO and potentially made many well-known faces in the UK media scene multi-millionaires.

The findings follow Media Week’s own Salary Survey last month, which cited a trend in many high earning media executives being culled, and as a result those at the most senior level have experienced a 6.5% drop in average salaries to a minimum of £53,000.

The Lighthouse Company has been linked with a number of senior industry moves in recent years, including former I-Level managing director Mark Creighton’s move to Mindshare, MediaCom’s chief operating officer Steve Bignell’s move to ITV, and ex OMD’s MD Matt James’ move to Starcom MediaVest.

Saxton’s company is currently believed to be actively involved in placing News International’s former commercial leader, Neil Jones, into a new role. The Lighthouse Company refused to comment on the speculaton, calling client confidentiality "a fundamental cornerstone of the business".

Follow Arif Durrani on Twitter: @DurraniMix

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