In an industry that is constantly evolving and progressing, we have to work hard to stay at the forefront of our profession in order to provide an effective and results-driven service for our clients. An important element of ensuring this is possible is through our long-standing relationship with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) – utilising its knowledge and courses to invest in and develop our staff across each department and skill level. This is an integral part of Hunterlodge’s culture – and it doesn’t just stop with our existing staff. As co-chairman of the IPA’s Professional Development Group, championing learning within agencies, as well as the industry as a whole, is an important aspect of my own career development. I am passionate in my belief that advertising should be viewed on the same footing as accountancy, architecture or the law, and this needs to be established from grass roots up. The industry is currently under the magnifying glass for a perceived talent wastage and issues with diversity, so where better to start than at the beginning. We have always followed this philosophy ourselves – ensuring we have a rigorous recruitment process and only ever employing the very best candidate for the job, and then, most importantly, keeping them at the top of their game. We do this by deploying our best-in-class CPD programme to drive talent across all areas of the business. It is interesting to note that the IPA has carried out extensive research and found that the most successful and profitable agencies are also the ones that have the highest quality CPD programmes. We work hard to draw our talent pool from a diverse background for example, and are lucky enough to have recruited a Creative Pioneer apprentice five years ago without any prior advertising experience. He has grown and developed within the company and is now working on our most prestigious account – as well as being awarded MIPA status by the IPA – the first ever apprentice to have achieved this accolade. This is the premise of the IPA’s recent initiative called “Advertising Unlocked”. Advertising Unlocked is a unique open house event where a number of top UK agencies, including Hunterlodge, will be opening their doors in September to those curious about agency life and a career in advertising. It is these sorts of events that need to showcase the raft of potential job opportunities open to graduates, apprentices or those looking for a change, and promote our industry to a diverse and engaged audience. June has seen us focus our efforts on thinking about our offering at the open day and how we, as an agency, can help influence future graduates and create a wider and more diverse talent pool. Despite Brexit fears and a constant squeeze from newer tech companies driving digital disruption, the advertising industry is growing and we need to capitalise on this and ensure we are resourcing the industry with the right type of talent to suit the changing industry. Traditional routes to recruitment are not always the best solution for an industry driven by innovation and change. Many graduates just starting out have little understanding of the scope of roles available within an advertising agency – it’s not just about someone “creative” being able to think up new ways of advertising products and services. It requires a spread of individuals with diversity of thought, backgrounds, opinions and skills – from the linear brain required for strategy and data analysis, the lateral brain for designers, social and content managers, to the diagonal brain for client service teams and account management. Just as we are always advising our clients to promote brand authenticity to gain engagement from their audience – so must the advertising industry. Agencies themselves must focus on branding agency life in a more honest and appealing way and follow through with these promises. It’s less about the shiny added-value extras such as lunchtime yoga and an Xbox in the staff room, and more about experiences, personal reward and career development. This is why we were eager to get involved with the Advertising Unlocked programme. Having not followed the traditional education route myself, I feel it is important to raise awareness of our profession to a diverse audience and demonstrate why advertising is an exciting, credible and professional industry that is full of opportunity whatever your background.
This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.
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