Media seen as ideal workplace

By Raewyn Court

Creativity, multi-tasking, and for some the chance of fame, are among the industry's varied attractions

Jesse Mulligan, Ali Mau and Greg Boyed know what it's like to be part of the action.
Jesse Mulligan, Ali Mau and Greg Boyed know what it's like to be part of the action.

The media business is perceived as the most attractive of all industries to work in, and TVNZ the most appealing media employer, human resources specialists Randstad reveal in their latest employer branding survey of 7,000 New Zealanders of working age.

Professor Laurence Simmons, film, television and media studies head of department at the University of Auckland, says a career in the media industry is attractive because it often involves multi-tasking and includes creative tasks and input.

There is potential to climb the job ladder quite rapidly and there is the allure of possible fame, which he cautions is only realised by very few.

Students are attracted by the variety and multiplicity of possible positions for graduates.

They can find jobs in television, radio, journalism, advertising, print publications, government departments and film and television.

However, the Randstad research points to important changes in the media industry, with online growth and a move towards integrated services dominating the sector.

Director Paul Robinson says: "Media boundaries are blurred and user-generated content is becoming more mainstream and accessible - and this has had a drastic effect on employment and staffing levels."

Simmons says these changes do not necessarily mean students will have difficulty finding media jobs when they graduate, but that when the nature and parameters of jobs change, training and skills change as well.

He cites the fact that the department's teaching of screen production students has evolved in response to industry changes and needs.

"We have made new teaching appointments, including industry practitioners, and are developing a production management course component along with staff from the business school, as well as a potential stream in animation.

"We have been conscious that the New Zealand film industry has historically needed more expertise and growth in the areas of screen writing, script development and production management and we have focused on these," Simmons says.

The department now teaches courses on the theory and analysis of media technologies and the digital age, the theory and culture of video games, social media, online privacy, comics and graphic novels, advertising, music videos and reality television. Next year a course in on-line media and democracy will be offered.

"In response to student demand we are developing a full major in the field of journalism studies with topics such as the ownership and control of the news, the impact of digitalisation, citizen journalism, celebrity journalism and war reporting."

TVNZ, the highest scoring media company in terms of its perceived attractiveness, appeals to a wide demographic but particularly to women aged 25 to 39, says the Randstad research.

Richard Parker, acting head of human resources at TVNZ, says the company has "hundreds of very talented, successful women working at TVNZ, and we have some phenomenal female role models in our on-air team.

"Perhaps this is a factor when women are thinking about who they'd like to work for."

Parker credits the media industry with being exciting, incredibly fast-moving and creative and says that whether it's in journalism, production, creative design, digital media, technology or marketing, TVNZ has some of the most coveted roles in the market. "Plus we're such a part of New Zealanders' lives every day.

"We're in their lounges, they've grown up with us, and our content has kept them informed and entertained.

"I can't think of many other businesses that can say that."

The media industry is rapidly evolving and online viewing is growing exponentially. TVNZ is embracing these changes, says Parker.

"It's true that, like all businesses, we've had to work leaner and smarter over the past few years. But these changes have also made the business more focused and more agile - and that's helped keep us an attractive option for job seekers." Parker says TVNZ looks for people who have the skills and ideas to help evolve the business to handle the changing viewing habits of New Zealanders.

"For us it's about having the most-watched content, whether that's on the TV at home, on an iPhone on the bus to work, or on a laptop in your lunch break."

Parker says the company employs people who are driven to succeed, who think about what viewers want, and who thrive in an environment of collaboration and creativity.

They should have a willingness to pitch in, practicality, good humour and common sense.

TVNZ employs recent graduates in its news and production areas, and Parker says: "We're looking for extremely energetic, driven and smart people who want to be part of one of the fastest-changing industries in the world. It's not an easy cruise here."

- NZ Herald

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