Sunday, 9 February 2014

Taking stock of the interactive media industry

For those who have followed us over time, it will come as no surprise that we see that iMedia is still evading recognition as an industry in its own right. Do you see yourself fitting in to the traditional industries of media, technology or telecommunications, for example? iMedia's skills, its impact on the economy, its recruitment concerns, its lack of funding, its educational challenges across all levels of traditional education and its needs, are subsumed into traditional industry definitions in a devastating fragmented chaos.

While iMedia used to be a niche within each traditional industry and given some token attention for innovation, technology changing business models and so on, now it is mainstream in each area but it still hasn't gained collective understanding and rating. The penny hasn't dropped. They haven't joined the dots. They still can't see the woods for the trees. Unfortunately this seems to be true for those responsible for top level strategic research - and not only in the UK.

So, where are we now? Well, KPMG seem to have many of the dots right (literally) with a great infographic on the state of technologies for today and tomorrow that surprisingly isn't industry bound. This really is worth a look whether you follow any of the other links in this blog or not. It is worth a deep look, especially as you can contribute to its polling.

Back to that industry niggle, then. Prompted by KPMG's report into how fast the UK job market is moving in January 2014 and the consequences on skills shortages for the up-gearing, Report on jobs – strong growth of staff placements continues in January’, we took a look at how they are evaluating their definitions of the media, technology and telecommunications sectors. Guess what? They have recognised how pervading digital developments are for each. We direct you specifically to the following KPMG pages out of the three respective sectors:
The skills shortage for iMedia has been apparent for many years. We've relied on reactionary youths who have tended to go out on their own to get experience of emerging digital environments. We've ignored traditional attributes/qualifications, set our own tests and standards for recruitment, built up skills through mentoring while fire-fighting innovatory digital demands, and generally re-skilled to suit the workload and clients. Sound familiar? But, enter some sobering thoughts from David Knight, again from KPMG, with The Silver Lining.

The premise here is that the skills shortage is so bad in the UK that the attitude towards more mature people might have to change. They have been a skilled but wasted resource and they'd like to continue working because of the changing pension reality. Do they have skills that can be repurposed for iMedia? Perhaps the contract mentality that drove iMedia at the initial stages might suit? Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Can we learn anything from their knowledge and experience? This would certainly be a major challenge for iMedia when anyone past 35 is seen as past it. Food for thought indeed.