Inclusion and diversity in action: Diversifying our talent pool

By Hannah Greehy, head of talent, EMEA

We want to hire the best people to work at MiQ, period. But let’s face it, the traditional recruitment techniques are pretty awful and historically we haven’t attracted the most diverse talent pool. By traditional we mean only reaching out to graduate recruiters. This only gives candidates who have degrees, grad recruiters typically won’t send anyone below a 2:1 level degree, making this a missed opportunity to reach a different layer of really talented young people. That has to change. 

This is why we launched our emerging talent initiatives. The goal is simple: improve and expand the processes we use to find the very best people to break into our industry. A diverse workplace brings new ideas, different perspectives and connects us to a larger, more varied audience. One small step we took to get to this goal? Adapting our recruitment process to remove degrees as a requirement for open positions. We don’t think that the best employees need to have attended university. In fact some of MiQ’s best and brightest employees never went to uni, so we already know you don’t need a degree to be successful. So, how can we interest, hire and retain talented individuals at the start of their careers? These four programs, operating in EMEA, are a starting point. 

Apprenticeships & internships

How can we reach a new, diverse, talent pool? Apprenticeships. They are fast becoming popular ways of gaining entry into industries without the need for a degree. They provide real on the job training and allow young people to gain a relevant qualification while they are learning. We signed on with the apprentice program in the UK which is geared towards young people aged 16-21 to give them on-the-job work experience. We welcomed our first ever apprentices into our company and had them join our ad-ops team. We hope that over the course of the program (which can run for one to five years, depending on the level and type of apprenticeship), and after the participants earn their accreditation, that they decide to continue their career in our industry or at MiQ.  

We also offer six-month internship opportunities in a number of different departments. These are full time roles, designed to build skills and expertise and start great careers. We are also looking at expanding the types of apprenticeship and internship roles we offer at MiQ next year. 

Career development panels and open mic sessions 

Instead of waiting for prospective talent to find us, it makes sense to go to where they already are: schools and colleges. Our team speaks to students through our open mic sessions – these can range from panel discussions, career fairs/workshops or 1-2-1 mentoring sessions. Talking about careers in digital advertising and explaining what we do can plant a seed about our industry. During these sessions, students learn from industry experts on a range of topics, including a day-in-the-life explanation of programmatic or understanding our industry and the future. The interactive nature of these events allows for engagement and interest from a new audience. We are also looking to roll out a mentoring programme to enable our MiQers the chance to help support young people as they embark on their own career journeys. 

Partnerships 

Doing this on our own isn’t easy. There are already programs out there so we decided to partner with them. We joined with WeAreDigital to launch our first Digital Boost Traineeship scheme. This program gave 40 people a week of insights into our business and industry as part of their three-month traineeships. We also partnered with WeAreDigital to launch our Kickstart Work Experience program, an eight-week rotation to see how all areas of our business work. 

We also partner with charities and youth engagement businesses helping to raise awareness and support in our industry, including workshops and panel discussions, to give a flavor of MiQ and our industry.

Work experience

Coffee runs and filing paperwork are the marks of a horrible old-school internship, not the way to attract great talent. We replaced that model with the novel idea of offering actual work experience to young people aged 16-21 with interests in STEM subjects. Work experience weeks happen three times a year and gives insight into all the different departments at MiQ in a really interactive way. But there are no lectures or being talked down to. Instead, these are fun, immersive weeks that allow for 10-15 people each time to have exposure to how the business works. We partner with charities such as Generating Genius as well as schools and employee referrals to find great young people to join us for work experience. 

The future 

We know we have a long way to go when it comes to attracting and hiring more diverse talent and these emerging talent programs are some first baby steps. Participants from these programs have already applied for our open entry-level roles, and been successful at securing permanent roles at MiQ. We are proud of this success and want to continue to grow and shape our emerging talent offerings for the future.