We must do our utmost to support future talent during pandemic

Covid-19 has shown how important it is for everyone in the ad industry to look out for one another and make sure the rising stars of tomorrow get their chance to flourish

Bixanne Tam, a creative producer for brand experience agency XYZ, kindly agreed to pose in a face mask and blurred glasses for the cover shot of our November issue.

She features in Faces to Watch – our annual showcase that highlights about three dozen rising stars from across the ad industry. All of them have worked in advertising for fewer than 10 years and have been endorsed by their employer.

These rising stars of today face an uncertain future because of the pandemic but at least they have started on their careers and made admirable progress.

We worry more about the rising stars of tomorrow – the young talent who are trying to get into the industry in a brutal jobs market. Even if they find employment, the opportunities to learn and network are greatly reduced because of remote working.

That is why we have produced a special report in which we ask the Faces to Watch of 2020, the leaders of some of the top advertising colleges and the bosses of more than 20 agencies and media owners about how to get into the industry.

Some responses are understandably downbeat, yet there is plenty of can-do optimism. Covid-19 will pass eventually and the best approach is to be proactive: adapt, learn new skills, be entrepreneurial and seek advice.

That final suggestion is important because it is incumbent on all of us to look out for each other – whether it is offering advice, making introductions, mentoring, collaborating or just listening and talking.

The most common worry I hear from chief executives at the moment is about the mental health of their employees, particularly the young. One agency chief discovered in a staff survey that more than half of their people are single or live on their own – a major concern given new lockdown measures.

When this crisis is over, we need to be able to look back and say: we did our best to support the future talent of our industry.

Gideon Spanier is UK editor-in-chief of Campaign

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