Organisers of the first Tom McGann Memorial Summit are urging media industry educators to find new ways of attracting talented technical staff to work in broadcasting.
Broadcasters, vendors, academics and students from across Europe gathered at EBU headquarters in Geneva (23 to 24 November) to examine the role of broadcast engineers and discuss what could be done to produce enough recruits.
New research commissioned for the meeting pointed to a halt in growth on all sides of the industry, stemming from a shortage of well-educated, well-qualified staff.
One of the principle findings suggested that the real issue lies in attracting new students to the field. University representatives from France, Germany, Russia and UK confirmed that while their broadcast engineering programmes are up to date, filling student quotas was difficult. One professor said they had room for twice as many students as were enrolled.
Another finding indicated that the move to IT and IP in broadcast means the industry can no longer count on retaining specially trained technicians. The industry is in competition for systems architects, network specialists and data managers within other sectors.
“The solutions are not primarily about money, but about communications,” said Niall Duffy, an independent consultant who chaired the two-day event. “We need broadcasters and vendors to talk to each other to share best practices, as well as making it practical for staff to move around.
We need to reach young people before they decide their career is going to lie in a cubicle farm at some big IT company. And we need to keep fostering talent." An action plan outlining how to bridge training and career development opportunities and industry requirements will be available. More information can be found on the IABM Foundation website.