In line with Bristol Digital Week taking place 16-20 October 2017, we catch up with individuals leading the way in digital and tech in Bristol to capture their views on skills in the digital sector and where the future is headed.
We chat to Nick Dean, MD at Bristol recruitment agency ADLIB, as part of our 'Bristol Digital Leaders' Q&A series.
Tell us a bit about your business and what it does?
For 16 years ADLIB has immersed itself into the Digital, Marketing, Creative, UX & Service Design, Technology and eCommerce communities. Out of this has arisen a highly respected and experienced team of recruiters regularly called on to share their unrivalled knowledge and connect the finest talent with ambitious start ups, thriving SMEs, agencies of all shapes and sizes, challenger brands and global organisations.
From an education, skills and training perspective, what does the digital sector look like?
Digital is a broad term that constitutes many disciplines and skill sets across marketing, products, platforms, systems and infrastructure (the list goes on). Within commercial settings it can be a challenge to remain current and skill up effectively in response to the advancement of technology and digital products. Education alone struggles to provide readymade workforce, which is completely understandable. The people that will cut through will most likely have a combination of enthusiasm and self-learning, education and the commercial world experience.
Do you have any skills gaps in your business?
In my eyes pretty much any progressive business will have an element of skills gap. Owner managed / SME’s organisations are often led by people that haven’t held a like for like role before. Likewise businesses that embrace change and technology to improve and drive better business performance constantly need focus on learning and personal development throughout their people.
Do you think there are skills gaps in the digital sector overall?
Yes. In line with the prior answer regarding education, skills and training, it’s a challenge to bring skills through at the pace of advancement. Right now the industry is crying out for more user experience expertise, performance marketers, data and insight specialists, developers, again the list goes on. There’s also the increasing noise around the gig economy and people choosing contracting as a career option, which in its own right moves business models and how skills are sourced to deliver business continuity.
If we don’t fill skills gaps, where do you think the digital sector is headed?
There has to be a balance between technological advancement and having enough skilled people to effectively implement and allow that technology to be embraced. Digital is ever expanding so the need for constant consideration and future proofing is vital. Take for example the recent VR World Congress in Bristol, there were over 2000 attendees and 100+ speakers. That in its own right suggests the need that skilling up, business adaptation and business opportunity within VR will call for increased skill demands imminently. It’s just one example across an expansive digital world.
What can we do to make the most of the digital talent in the region?
Our friends at Invest Bristol and Bath, TechSPARK, Bristol Media, the Engine Shed (amongst many others) do an incredible job of attracting and supporting the growth of start-ups, scale ups and corporate brands, in turn developing the regions proposition as an incredible place to live and work. There is a huge opportunity for young people to develop careers within the digital sector where they’ll be set for life, along with those already skilled and looking for long term career development and stability.
Nick loves recruitment. Handy, as he’s worked in the sector for over 17 years. He also loves the creative, digital and marketing sectors. Again handy, as he worked in a top digital marketing agency for nearly 5 years. Today he brings this love together and is tasked with ensuring that the ADLIB team are the most talented, successful and ethical recruiters of digital, marketing, creative, technology, eCommerce and UX people that you’ll ever know.
Bristol Digital Week
Check out the series of events taking place during Bristol Digital Week 2017, together with partners BBC Academy, Open Doors, Venturefest and Bristol Festival of Ideas.
Read more interviews with individuals leading the way in digital in the region from our Bristol Digital Leaders series:-