on October 14 2017
Name: Emma Giles
Education: BA degree from Cardiff University
Current role: Senior PR Account Executive at Berkeley
Ideal role: Content director/creative brand strategist
Are the stereotypes about millennials true?
In terms of the stereotype that millennials are lazy, definitely not. I don’t understand where this stereotype has come from. I think more than ever, millennials are aware of the pressures they face in terms of climbing the career ladder, so we can afford to buy a house. With that in mind, we work hard to achieve that. We have been bombarded with news that we face an economic climate full of uncertainty, austerity and lack of job security. I think this has merely affirmed a desire to work hard.
In terms of the stereotype that millennials are compulsively job-hunting, I feel that is slightly exaggerated but not necessarily untrue. I think many are aware of how having a variety of jobs could aid their development in the long run. This is also amplified by the fact that we’re always being kept updated with how our friends and peers are progressing, through social media. So there is a pressure to keep proving our success in different opportunities. It could also make us question if we’re going down the right path, if our peers seem to be progressing further, in their careers.
What benefits most attract you to a new position?
If there’s a clear focus on company culture, this is something that appeals to me; whether that is promoting away days or socials events. You spend the majority of your time with your colleagues, so it’s important to me that teamwork is celebrated. Similarly, if it’s clear that there is a chance for career development and training, that is also attractive. It’s important that I continue to learn throughout my career and that I don’t become complacent in any role I am in.
In the long term which of the following is most important to you? (Please explain why?)
- Career development
- Work/ life balance
In the long term the most important would be career development, with work/life balance a close second. The PR industry is one that is adapting at a rapid pace and it’s really important to me that I have opportunities to keep learning and develop my skill set. Working for a company that offers employees the chance to develop their careers, is really important to me. It ensures that I can be the best PR professional I can be.
What do you think most companies are getting wrong when hiring/ retaining younger workers?
I think many companies, especially in creative industries, expect younger workers to work for free, in order to build up their experience. Whilst some individuals can afford to do this, it can be a massive barrier for graduates who can’t afford to pay for travel to a role and then work for free. Internships and placements are a great way for young people to get their foot in the door, but they need to be rewarded appropriately.
Additionally, in terms of retaining millennials, many companies don’t promote a work/life balance. I think this could be damaging to younger workers, who from very early in their careers, may think that the only way to succeed is working 50/60 hour weeks. Ultimately it is this mindset that is not only damaging for wellbeing, but is ultimately likely to deter people from certain industries. Younger workers should be encouraged to work hard, but never at the expense of their wellbeing and social life.
Looking back, is there anything you’d change about the route you took to your current career?
I don’t think there is anything I would change. I was very conscious to get as much work experience as I could, whilst I was at university. It played a vital role in helping me apply for jobs as a graduate. After having various work experience placements, both including in-house communications roles and PR agencies, it helped me decide which sort of role I would be best suited to. I decided a PR agency like Berkeley was for me. I would encourage people to do the same and get as much varied work experience, to figure out which industry you are most suited to.
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