TikTok, TikTok… Time’s up on hiring in our own moulds

TikTok, TikTok… Time’s up on hiring in our own moulds
A still from IPA's ad campaign, where a TikTok influencer tours ad agencies

We aren’t advertising advertising well enough, especially to the next generation, warns the IPA president and GroupM UK and EMEA CEO.

There’s a place for everyone in adland. But if people don’t know this – if they don’t know about the world of advertising and the depth and breadth of jobs available to them – then how on earth can we hope to hire them and how on earth can we hope to improve the diversity, energy and growth of the ad industry?

A large factor in this, I feel, is down to the fact we aren’t advertising advertising well enough. And we are certainly not advertising it to the right people. We have been guilty of hiring in our own moulds for too long, from too small and too familiar a pond. And while this is improving thanks to a wealth of fantastic diversity and inclusivity industry drives and initiatives, we can and must do more.

A clear path to reach a new audience

We need to go where the diverse audience we want to attract resides. This is why we, at the IPA, have headed to TikTok. We can see from the latest IPA TouchPoints data, with over half of 16-24s using TikTok – and for the best part of two hours a day – there is a clear path to reach an audience that ordinarily would not come across our industry, let alone consider a career with us. So we have teamed up with them and some of their influential content creators, who – for this project – collectively boast almost 600,000 active followers with interests ranging from inclusion, queerness and anti-racism to comedy, beauty and fashion.

Building on this point, we haven’t just headed to TikTok for delivery of our message, we have consciously tied up with TikTok for Business who sought out these influencers for us and worked on our strategy with us because they share our aim in making a real, positive difference to the careers of young people. Where maybe not too long ago the ad industry and the tech giants were viewed as competing for the same talent, this is a wonderful example of where we are now working together for the collective good.

Post-Covid and in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis, it is a tough environment for people leaving school, college, or university, or just trying to begin any kind of career. This campaign breaks down some barriers, shines a light on the opportunities available and gives people the chance to ‘Step into adland’. Through our new campaign, they get to follow their influencer inside the doors of agency life via TikTok and, if they like what they see, they may then consider a career with us – or at least consider joining us at one of our IPA agencies’ open days first, which are taking place in London, Manchester and Edinburgh on 1 November.

Investing in our people and attracting new people

My agenda as IPA President and my MO as CEO of an agency network of thousands is to put people first. Our people are the lifeblood of our agencies. It’s their brilliance and imagination which is what makes us who and what we are.

To keep this magic alive, we need to attract diverse individuals to bring in fresh perspectives and expand our horizons, and we need to invest in their professional capabilities, their health and their wellbeing if we are to retain them and if we are to grow our businesses and continue to boost the UK economy.

Currently, for every £1 spent the ad industry brings in £6 to the UK economy. Imagine what we can achieve with an even stronger, more diverse, more inclusive and more representative workforce.

Josh Krichefski is president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and CEO, EMEA & UK, for WPP’s media agency division GroupM.

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