Why Amber Rudd's 'name and shame' stance on foreign workers will hit commercial creativity

Commercial creativity won't thrive without cultural creativity, says the Europe chief executive of Havas Creative Group.

The new Home Secretary Amber Rudd has defended her decision to "name and shame" UK businesses she believes are hiring too many foreign workers.  

Her fellow politicians, of all persuasions, have whipped up the sense that immigration is the greatest problem we face in Britain. They've magnified the very real concerns voters have about scant resources and limited access to services and twisted them to make foreigners the enemy.  

And then they've used this summer's Brexit vote as proof that policies like this are what we want and more importantly, what we need. 

Many millions of us, and indeed even many of the politicians taking this position, don't believe this. There is no proof even that the majority of those who voted "out" believe this. The Brexit vote has been spun into a vote to close our borders.  

Now more than ever we need our leaders to lead, not simply to parrot what has become received wisdom.  

Here we are though, nonetheless, talking about barring businesses like ours from acquiring the best talent we can find from around the world. 

But we simply can't win without the right people. There's a mountain of evidence that limiting our ability to look for the very best, wherever they may be, will have the opposite effect. It will put us on the losing side. 

Commercial creativity won't thrive without cultural creativity.

We need thriving music scenes, art scenes, student communities – all of them with diverse and unique cultures of their own.

Cultures that germinate and grow with the influence of the beautiful melting pot of different languages, belief systems and inspirations.

It's like cutting off a creative limb if we can't rely on attracting the very brightest and best from that pot of global talent. 

And there’s a very real and powerful business and economic imperative at work here too. More diverse, more representative workforces make better, more profitable work. It’s a fact.

So now more than ever, we need to make sure our voices are heard. Organisations like the IPA, the Creative Industries Federation, and publications like this one have a crucial part to play in getting us a seat at the top table.  

The idea that we would be ashamed to be exposed as employing foreign workers is insulting.

We aren't. 

We need immigration. We want the world's best talent to choose London and the UK. It makes us better at our jobs and allows us to deliver better work for our clients and (literally) enriches us all.

Chris Hirst is Europe chief executive of Havas Creative Group

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