How can the industry attract and retain the best creative talent? It's a question that has become increasingly urgent as tech giants steal potential recruits and the lure of entrepreneurship claims others.
Campaign asked the winners of this year's Faces to Watch, our list of the industry's leaders of the future, to give their views on what the industry should change for it to become a better home for creative talent.
Interestingly, there was consensus from those who answered. Ending the long-hours culture was identified as the most important thing to improve the experience of working in adland by seven out of the 18 (39%) people who responded. This was closely followed by those who thought increasing diversity and inclusion in the industry would have the greatest impact on the working environment (28%).
Other answers included creating more open cultures, taking mental health seriously and not losing the joy.
Explore their answers in more depth below.
1. End the long-hours culture
The industry needs to change its approach to working long hours. I know it's been said to death but there's still a long way to go. The nature of our work means there will be some late nights but they shouldn't be continuously expected. We need to stop demanding that people, especially younger people, work long hours every day. It's unproductive and backward.
Matt Gainsford, strategist, Lucky Generals
We need to drive a culture across the industry that ensures that the focus remains on productivity and output versus simply being "present" for the maximum amount of hours.
Sophie Jacobs, brand manager, Tesco
As we love what we do, we approach our work as a hobby and we can get completely lost in it. But the problem becomes when your [employer] starts to think your job is your actual hobby and suddenly you are working late again and your weekends are spent by the screen on another brief. It's all about finding balance and harmony.
Ieva Paulina, senior art director, M&C Saatchi
We need to stop the race to the bottom between agencies in terms of giving clients the cheapest deal. Good service and the best talent should be valued and paid for appropriately. The main complaint among workers in adland is that they just don't have the time to produce quality work all the time. Creativity requires time and space, something that is unavailable when agencies are backing themselves into a corner of overpromising and underdelivering.
Abbie Howard, Planning Manager, dentsu X
2. Take mental health seriously
Creativity is a passion, but it's also a job like any other. I think the industry needs to start taking mental health seriously and creating policies that allow people to do what they love without feeling like they need to compromise their mental health for it. Clients and agencies need to realise that "under pressure" is not the only way of getting great creative out of the door. Mentally healthy minds are capable of even more incredible things.
Camila Gurgel, senior creative, M&C Saatchi
We work in a fast-paced sector and a lot of people go above and beyond their roles to make the best work and improve the industry. Now that we're working from home, we need to be more aware of one another's mental health. Conversations about stress, fatigue and general wellbeing should become more commonplace.
Luke Alexander-Grose, junior planner, VCCP
Encourage people's passions outside work – whether that's sport, family or entrepreneurship. The more we do and achieve outside office hours, the more we grow in confidence and ability. Sometimes it's the things that you least expect to have an impact that really shape your professional life.
Catrin Tyler, business director, Dark Horse
3. Create an open culture
We need to stop feeding ego. Too many times across my career in advertising I've seen the loudest, most intrusive voice get the attention, regardless of the quality of input. I think we should focus on fostering a culture where everyone's voice is heard and everyone is encouraged to share.
Priya Chauhan, head of activation, Essence
The industry should break free from functions. A successful marketer needs to be a great salesperson, and a great salesperson needs to understand people. Adland sometimes puts people into boxes of "creative" or "digital expert" and, while we certainly need experts in specific fields, it's important to remember that a great idea can come from anywhere. We shouldn't be held back by job descriptions.
Yasmin O'Neal, brand & sales personal care director, P&G Northern Europe
Secondments, both across the brands and the networks we work with or are a part of, are frequently talked about, but don't happen nearly enough. The benefits in the long term feel like such a no-brainer (better understanding of our clients' businesses; gaining new cultural experiences that breed new ways of thinking) but we seem to be trapped in a cycle of short-termism. That’s ironic for an industry that promotes long-term thinking to its clients.
Luke Kelly, senior planner, McCann Manchester
4. Embrace diversity
I believe there is still too much emphasis on university and degrees, especially for entry-level roles into the industry. As someone who didn't go to university, I had to fight more and work harder for these roles in order to prove myself. I also believe this boils down to age. I started in the industry just over 10 years ago in a support role, but that was only because someone took a risk on me. I knew that although I didn't have a degree, I could work hard and progress with whatever I set my mind to.
Charlie Celino, sales lead, News UK social studio
We need to see a path for progression ahead of us. From a D&I perspective, this means being able to envision your progression to the top of the industry. It's no use opening the front door, if you're not going to be invited up the stairs. We need to ensure our agencies are more inclusive and diverse in an economy that is going through rapid transformation.
Luke Alexander-Grose, junior planner, VCCP
It is imperative that, for the industry to improve, there must be more female and culturally diverse talent in senior roles. This is so important to inspire new diverse talent that the industry much needs.
Tasmin Lobley, senior art director, Waste Creative
The industry needs to review how we can help talent from all walks of life gain experience or an insight into how we work (rather than just the output). This will help give exposure to potential talent that can't afford to take up free or low-paid work experience opportunities.
Joanna Gomer, head of campaigns and media, Lidl GB
5. Don’t lose the joy
Our best work has come from our agencies working together in an integrated way, which is a great model to improve both collaboration and results. Sometimes we forget the joy and excitement that brands and advertising can bring to people's lives. Bringing these values and energy to our day-to-day roles is crucial for keeping the industry moving forward as a great place to work.
Lucy Cooke, brand manager, Beanz, Kraft Heinz
Photos (clockwise from top left): Charlie Celino, Yasmin O'Neal, Luke Alexander-Grose, Priya Chauhan, Luke Kelly, Sophie Jacobs