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Investment in Talent at Heart of New 3-Year Strategy

Advertising Association

4 min read Partner content

LONDON, January 25, 2023: A new Talent Report – Investing In Our Talent’s Future –released with the Advertising Association’s 3-year strategy through to 2025 has highlighted the industry’s need to address its talent shortages through two key areas – better attraction and recruitment of new talent, and increased development and retention of existing talent.

The report, informed by UK advertising thinktank, Credos, and a special Talent Task Force comprising more than 20 HR leads, was presented by Advertising Association President and Tesco Chief Customer Officer, Alessandra Bellini, at LEAD 2023. Preliminary actions include plans for a campaign to promote advertising as a career choice to young people, a central industry hub for professional skills training, increased successful uptake of the apprenticeship scheme and support on best practice around hybrid working.

Headlines from Investing In Our Talent’s Future included data from Credos that the number of people working in advertising and marketing fell by 14% between 2019 and 2022, while HR leaders advised skills shortages were most acute at entry-level and at mid-level (people 3-5 years into their careers). Digital and data skills are most in demand, a problem faced by the wider UK business sector, but where the industry differs against comparable industries is in uncompetitive salary levels and salary progression. After inflation, ad spend has increased by 42% since 2011 while average annual advertising (-4%) and marketing (-10%) salaries have decreased over the same period.

The association’s President also unveiled the trade body’s updated mission: The Advertising Association unites the UK’s advertising industry to promote the role and rights of responsible advertising – advertising that is trusted, inclusive and sustainable – and its value to people, society, businesses, and the economy. Bellini renewed the association’s commitment to make the case for advertising through its work on Public Trust, Inclusion, Climate Action, Exports Growth, Media Literacy for Young People, and support for the industry’s key policy areas with government and urged all organisations in the industry to give full support.

Alessandra Bellini, President, Advertising Association, and Chief Customer Officer, Tesco plc, said: “Talent shortages are widely reported across the industry and this new report highlights two major areas of focus for collective effort. We can get better, both at attracting and recruiting new people, and at developing and retaining our talent, to the benefit of all who work in our industry. We need every organisation to support these goals, and to also put the fullest weight possible behind the cross-industry workstreams. These all serve to improve the industry’s proposition to talent, new and existing, to come and work in our industry.”

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association, said: “Working with our members on our new three-year plan to make our industry more trusted, more inclusive, and more sustainable will be key to attracting and retaining the very best talent. People want to be proud of the industry in which they work and to be confident that they can learn and grow throughout their career. This report demonstrates how much collective ambition and opportunity there is to improve our performance, from entry level through to every stage of career development.”

The Advertising Association has outlined five ways organisations across the industry can immediately take action to support the Talent workstream:

  1. Volunteer to join and collaborate with our Talent Task Force. A greater diversity of voices will mean we can develop better and more inclusive solutions.
  2. If you want to partner with us on advertising advertising then get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
  3. Companies that have run successful apprenticeship programmes: please get in touch with us, we want to showcase these case studies. 
  4. Please involve your organisations in the next All In Census on March 15, 2023. We will aim to provide even richer insights into the views and attitudes of people working in the industry.
  5. Give us your stories about how your organisation has put skills at the heart of your business strategy.

Get in touch via

Full copies of the new 3-year strategy – Making The Case For Advertising – and the Talent Report – Investing In Our Talent’s Future – are available on the Advertising Association’s website. Industry members are encouraged to review, feedback and support wherever they can.



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