Research from leading audit, tax, and consultancy firm RSM UK has revealed that nearly all media businesses surveyed (99%) have made redundancies over the past year.

Despite these widespread layoffs, a significant majority (60%) have faced challenges in recruitment during the same period.

Mandy Girder, head of the media industry at RSM UK, explained the dual challenge of technological advancements and workforce adaptation. “As new technology such as AI emerges, it’s important for media businesses to ensure they are well prepared to meet future demands and compete in the market long term. This means assessing the current workforce, anticipating future needs, and plugging any skills gaps.

“But while recruiters struggle to find people with the right mix of technology and media skills, those working in the media are trying to keep up with the pace of change, and some may worry their once in-demand skills are now becoming obsolete.”

Despite the redundancies, there remains a silver lining for the industry. Over half (54%) of the media businesses surveyed expressed optimism about their long-term future. However, the challenge of retaining staff with the right skill sets persists, particularly in areas such as data analytics, content creation, and digital skills.

Staff retention is more important than ever

Girder emphasised the importance of retention strategies, stating, “While most media businesses are feeling optimistic about the future, retaining staff with the right skills set remains a concern. Media businesses lucky enough to find the right people need to work harder than ever to retain them, which means providing compelling incentives such as share options, training, and career development so staff feel valued and want to stay.”

The research indicated that only a third (34%) of media businesses currently offer their employees a share options scheme, suggesting a potential area for improvement in recruitment and retention strategies.

Overseas recruitment becoming more popular

As the war for talent continues, media businesses are increasingly turning to overseas recruitment to meet their needs. A quarter (25%) of the surveyed businesses reported having temporary employees from overseas, with another quarter (25%) having recruited permanent overseas workers. With flexible and hybrid working options becoming more prevalent, particularly among Millennial and Gen Z employees, almost a quarter (23%) of media businesses reported having staff working abroad on a temporary basis.

Girder concluded by highlighting the benefits and complexities of overseas recruitment. “Recruiting from overseas can make sense for businesses that can’t find the specific skills they need here in the UK, and overseas opportunities can be appealing for UK workers who want to broaden their horizons. Businesses do however need to be fully aware of the visa, legal and tax implications of overseas recruitment, and ensure they have the right policies in place to support staff and mitigate risks.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.