Lucky Generals has launched an employment scheme that offers free accommodation in London, with the aim of recruiting talent from outside the capital and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
The Barracks expands on Lucky Generals’ current internship programme, which gives people looking to break into the ad industry a three-month placement spanning account management, research and insights, creative and production. Now, all recruits from outside London will be offered accommodation in a purposefully rented flat paid for by the agency, while anyone from within the city will have their travel expenses paid.
The scheme pays the London living wage, which is £10.55 per hour, and all recruits will receive their first month of wages in advance to help them settle into the new role.
The Barracks is located in Stratford. Upon arrival, interns will find an "ammo box", containing welcome gifts and a guide to London, plus an Amazon gift card and a kitchen stocked with Yorkshire Tea, Taylors coffee and a Co-op food delivery to cover the first week – all brands that Lucky Generals works on.
Lucky Generals set up The Barracks to help bring more diverse talent into the industry. Only 8.1% of the 1.9 million jobs in the creative industries are filled by those from less advantaged groups, according to data from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
A report by Nesta showed that opportunities in the creative industries are "out of reach" for many and the workforce looks dramatically different from the UK population, while the sector remains heavily London- and south-east-centric.
The situation is exacerbated by high London rental costs, which have increased by 21.7% since 2011, while wages have only increased by 9.1%, according to the 2019 GMB rent and earnings in London report.
As a result, the majority of new advertising recruits tend to be people from higher socioeconomic backgrounds or those who already or can afford to live in London.
"We are a very middle-class industry and often not economically diverse. We wanted to give people an opportunity that would remove the barriers," Katie Lee, chief executive of Lucky Generals, said. "Intersectionality is so important – it’s not just about race, it has to be about socioeconomic diversity as well. There’s nothing you can do about that unless you put your money where your mouth is."
Lee added that the agency often hires its interns after the placement scheme.
People can apply for The Barracks via Lucky Generals’ website and have to answer one question: "If you had £1,000 to pursue a mission of your own, what would it be and who would you call in for back-up?" The application can take any form, from a Word document to a film or presentation.