Ben Vickers chats about industry changes, the biggest challenges facing companies today, and how work may look in the future.

Ben Vickers started his career in Marketing, went on to launch Blue Skies Marketing Recruitment and is now a Founder at Colloco Search. With twenty five years experience of marketing and recruitment he has worked with independent marketing agencies and tech start-ups, through to global brands and medium sized corporates.

On a personal level you can find Ben enjoying time with his two sons, while enduring the futility of supporting Aston Villa


What personal experiences have been pivotal in shaping your career path?

After around five enjoyable years of marketing, I realised three things: One, that I wanted to run my own show. Two, that I should be better at recruitment than the consultants I was using. Three, that Marketing is a constantly evolving, fascinating business. I caught the marketing recruitment bug then, and still believe that recruitment is a powerful force for good. It transforms people’s lives


In three words how would your colleagues describe you?

Nagging, honest, passionate


Which changes in the industry have been most dramatic in your eyes?

There’s been so many. To pick one recruitment change that has perhaps proved unfortunate is the increasing emotional gap between some recruitment consultants & decision-makers and the candidate CVs they find in their inboxes. In my view the candidate experience has been neglected. Happily, the massive improvement in tech & social media means that candidates can today select from so many more opportunities. This explosion of transparency has been game-changing and should be applauded loudly


What advice would you give to people considering entering the industry?

The marketing industry is certainly one of the most exciting industries to work in. Acheiving that first rung isn’t easy. I’d suggest that preparing super thoroughly for each and every interview is vital. Candidates need to demonstrate to the interviewer why them, compared to twenty other graduates. Practice with a friend, use their feedback, and practice some more


In your view, what are the biggest challenges currently facing the industry?

Skills wise, marketing departments and agencies consistently advise us that candidates need to have stronger general commercial understanding, as well as specialist technical qualities. Individuals are often left to develop this commercial understanding by themselves, leaving a shortage of adequately trained middleweights ready for senior roles. Amercian companies are often better than British ones at filling this training gap


What support from the government or industry bodies would be most beneficial?

Most people would like to see even greater transparency between companies and consumers. The government can play a stronger role in ethics – whether its food labelling or parental controls on internet usage. This safeguarding role would help increase trust between customers and brands


In twenty years’ time what is the single biggest change you would expect to see in your industry sector?

That’s a hard question. In recruitment I would predict that specialist, expert consultants will thrive while overall the number of recruitment firms will decline. In marketing, I would predict that there’ll be new global brand leaders from India and Asia who are probably only just in start-up mode now