The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why Companies Are Wasting More Money With Internal Meetings Than At Client Lunches …
August 10, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Experience, Minimum Wage, Social Divide, Unfair Life

… especially in Asia, where over the years, I’ve attended meetings that frequently have 20 people in them, even if only 2 were needed and only those 2 actually comment.

And if you think Asia can afford to do this because salaries are so low, they need to look again.

We’re getting to a point where for certain roles, in certain industries, expats are becoming a cheaper option than local talent.

Of course not all the time – and an expat is pointless if they don’t know something about local culture – but there are an increasing number of situations where this is the case.

It wouldn’t be so bad if overall standards were superior, but the job-hopping attitude of millennials means salary levels are being pushed to ridiculous levels without the experience or talent to necessarily justify them.

Not only does this mean average talent is pricing themselves out the market [though an amazing amount of companies seem to be paying it], it also means overall standards are falling because people not qualified to have certain jobs are being given them as they are the only ones willing to accept the salaries on offer. [Mainly because it’s more than they would otherwise get]

In essence, we’re entering a period of corporate devolution, which if I was a CEO in a company, I’d be scared shitless of. Except I’ll probably be leaving in 18 months with a big, fat cheque so that can be someone else’s problem, can’t it.

Mind you, if you are a talented local – of which there are lots, including many millennials – then the future has never looked so bright, which is very exciting for me to see … though I hope they don’t fall pray to the ‘good enough is good enough’ attitude that is currently rewarding so many for so little.

Based on the people I know and work with, I live in hope.


25 Comments so far
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20 people in a meeting and 19 say nothing brings back memories of my time in Asia. Back then, the talent cost was very low so they could afford to do it and pile people on a clients account. But as the talent has evolved, I’m guessing the client has got used to an abundance of people on their account, so is that causing problems with agencies in relation to scope of work and headcount by account?

Comment by Pete

I sound like a colonial ass on my above comment.
That was not intentional, just bad writing skills.

Comment by Pete

Yes you do. But I know what you’re trying to say – even if you’re saying it really, really badly.

Comment by Rob

There are still 20 people in many meetings and still – in many cases – only 1 speaks. I guess when you have over a billion people, you can still find hundreds of millions who will work for a low wage as it still reflects a premium on what they could earn in their hometown.

I have no problem with that – I want people to earn a great salary – but I want them to earn it because they’ve been well trained and have gained great experienced rather than what is happening too often here, which is they’re hired ‘to fill a role a client will pay for’ regardless of how qualified they are to do it.

As for clients being spoilt. That’s a good point and definitely there are some that think quantity beats quality but as more and more great professionals move up the ranks [albeit in a sea of unqualified professionals who are also moving up the ranks] I am hoping that will change as they’ll either be the client or the head of the agency.

Comment by Rob

And I should point out this situation is not unique to Asia/China … but it is more pronounced here, both because of population and the number of agencies in the country/region.

Comment by Rob

your application to the tea party has been approved you racist fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

I deserved that even though I didn’t.

Comment by Pete

if theyre making a shitload of cash they dont fucking deserve, good on them. better than some bald bastard from out the country making a shitload of cash he doesnt fucking deserve.

who cares if theyre fucking adlands long term prospects. adland doesnt have any long term prospects so make fucking moolah while the sun still shines.

Comment by andy@cynic

ex wives and alimony lawyers are excluded from that statement.

Comment by andy@cynic

I know you don’t meant that. Or not entirely.

Comment by Rob

better than just bankers and politicians taking the fucking piss. lets all fucking get on the gravy train.

Comment by andy@cynic

In the US, companies still use job titles to satisfy the talentless egotists. I recently met a VP of brand integration, design and retail policy and he was useless at all 3.

Comment by DH

Just remembered you were once called a “creative innovator”. Ha ha ha.

Comment by DH

i have a fuckload of other names for him.

Comment by andy@cynic

Actually title inflation is a big thing here. You have to show family you are progressing and the perfect way to do that is salary and title or one or the other. But while the titles haven’t got to the ridiculous stage of the US [which are designed to sound impressive even though you’re kept exactly at the level you were] the danger here is the titles actually represent a promotion so you get people in positions they shouldn’t be because the company thought that was an easier way to keep them than go through the hassle of finding someone else.

Slippery slope.

And yes, I was once known as a ‘creative innovator’. But that was the 90’s. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

Comment by Rob

What is the speed someone can go from entry level to head of a department Rob. What’s the worst case you’ve heard?

Comment by George

Well, if you read the link in the post, you’d know. But recently, an agency opened in China that made people who have never done planning before – and whose previous jobs never really used any traits of a planner – ‘planners’ and put them on a big client from day 1. I don’t blame them, but as I said in the ‘microwaveable careers’ post, you have to question the agency – and the client – that is OK with that. Or should I say, question how much they really care about you and your discipline. And their client/agency.

Comment by Rob

I wish you would write more about your life in China, I find it interesting. The salary inflation there sounds out of control. Is it for all employees or in certain sectors? I’m guessing it is not something expats have enjoyed, though they had good times from the beginning.

Comment by George

Don’t blame me when I start doing more of that then George. To answer your question, I’m not sure about other disciplines but in marketing and advertising roles it certainly is. But – obviously – only for local guys, like you said, the expats had it good from the beginning but … and it’s a big but … not what most people think and certainly not what it was in the 80’s, which, from what I’ve heard, sounds like it was ridiculous.

Comment by Rob

i hate when you make serious fucking comments.

Comment by andy@cynic

A national CEO based in SH has the habit to ask the juniors to make comments on our creative ideas. Some were just speaking for the sake of fulfilling the eye looks from her.

Comment by woo-hoo

Does that mean the 90s was the last time you were creative and innovative?

Comment by John


Comment by DH

This happens in the UK too.

I recently did a full day’s meeting with 20 people who travelled from three locations to discuss one page of a website.

At the end of the day nothing had been agreed but a subgroup had been formed to put the day’s findings together.

I’ll not name the company who pissed all this money away but I will say they got bailed out by the public in 2008.

Comment by mjgesq

A meeting about a meeting. My favorite type of meeting.

Comment by DH

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