Magazine article Marketing

Feel-Good Factor Mustn't Prevent Quality Recruits

Magazine article Marketing

Feel-Good Factor Mustn't Prevent Quality Recruits

Article excerpt

Eureka! Cripes! Shazam! 'Admen discover whereabouts of feel-good factor!' Well nearly. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's newly-published census shows that agencies put on another 500 staff last year - that's an increase of 1700 above the 11,100 employed in the recession three years ago. (Plus 15%, appropriately.)

This feel-good news is confirmed by the numbers attending the IPA's starter training course. In 1992 it dipped to 62. Last year it tripled to 180. That's far fewer than in the 80s, but it shows agencies are tentatively peering forward again, with a smidgen of optimism. Given the dearth of recruits during the four to five dead years, the noviciates now joining are almost certain to be agency bosses in a decade or two. So we are, quite literally, recruiting the future.

Are we getting the best people? It's hard to know, but I'm not convinced. Nor, for that matter, is WPP's Martin Sorrell. In a recent speech, he said: "Many people believe there is a dearth of talent at the entry level. The problem may be that not enough effort is made to attract the right people."

Well, yes. The underlying problem is that there are now more attractive, challenging and highly-paid opportunities available to the brightest and the best than there used to be. When I started, academically gifted graduates were steered towards the civil service. A handful signed up for the media, a mini-handful went into a mysterious new thing called marketing. Stiff-necked dullards joined the City. …

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