Advertising Pays 6:

World class talent, world class advertising.

Why is this such an important topic to research?

Introduction from Josh Graff 

UK Country Manager & VP Marketing Solutions, EMEA at LinkedIn 

I have experienced first-hand what makes the UK such a creative powerhouse – the people. A hugely diverse and international workforce enables brands and agencies to create campaigns which resonate across international, cultural and socio-economic boundaries to drive real impact.

LinkedIn’s unique member insights indeed shows that the UK, and London in particular, is a magnet for international advertising talent, more attractive it would appear than other hubs in the sector such as Amsterdam, Paris, New York or Sydney. And the sector’s leading creative and strategic thinking is all the better for it.

The findings are also a firm reminder that the industry’s success is not only down to London, as many looking from outside the sector might think. With more than half of the sector’s talent located outside of the capital and nearly a third of international migration in the sector settling beyond the M25, the whole country requires access to top international talent.

As the sector faces unprecedented challenges, both from within and externally, I hope that this report can not only help employers make better decisions about their talent pipelines but that it will also inform policy makers and educators on what’s required to ensure the sector continues to thrive. Access to top international talent is clearly crucial and by ensuring the UK remains a great and vibrant place to live and work, there is no reason why we can’t continue to be a center of excellence for the industry.

Karen Bradley Advertising Pays: World class talent, world class ads_ Advertising Association

Foreword by Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP 

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 

We all know that it’s the people you employ that make a business successful. Nowhere is that more evident than in the UK’s first-class advertising industry, among the most culturally diverse of any in the world.

The UK’s world-leading reputation in advertising, media and marketing communications means that we can attract the best international talent, stimulate billions of pounds worth of inward investment and export more advertising than anywhere in Europe.

This report shows that advertising is an important UK employer, not just in London but across all UK regions and nations. It also shows that advertising can unlock the potential of British brands; including, not least through the GREAT campaign, Brand Britain.

The UK is going global and from a million rubber balls to a drumming gorilla, advertising is symbolic of the UK’s ambition and potential as a nation.

What did we find?

The UK advertising market has a major positive impact on the country’s economy, with London serving as one of the great global centres of the industry. Based on analysis of data from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, this report focuses on the people who make UK advertising what it is today. It examines the extent of recent migration from abroad and assesses the impact of international talent on the character and performance of the industry. It also gauges the precise whereabouts of the country’s advertising workforce, and explores the role played by companies in the cities and regions outside the London powerhouse.

01 

Advertising is a major player in the London employment market. 

The UK’s advertising industry, renowned throughout the world for its excellence and creativity, benefits the country’s economy and society in a number of ways. It has a huge impact on economic performance, supports the growth of small- and medium sized businesses, generates large-scale employment and makes a considerable contribution to UK exports.

Out of every 10,000 LinkedIn members in the London area, 556 are employed in the advertising and marketing industry, which is equivalent to one in every 18 people. This represents a higher proportion of advertising workers within the overall employment market than can be seen in the other major international hubs examined in this report – Amsterdam, New York, Paris and Sydney

Advertising Association Industrial Strategy
Tea Building Advertising Pays 6: World class talent, world class ads. Advertising Association

02 

International talent plays a pivotal role in the UK. 

The proportion of the current advertising and marketing workforce in London who have migrated here from abroad in the last 12 months is three times as high as the corresponding figure in New York, and also higher than in Paris and Amsterdam. More than a third of these recent migrants come from European Union (EU) countries, with many others arriving from the United States and Australia. Although London attracts the majority of this international talent, more than a quarter (29%) of migrants to the UK have come to work outside London. Interviewees for this report, representing a broad cross-section of companies both buying and selling advertising services, consistently emphasise the essential contribution of non-British workers to the industry. Without such diversity in the workforce, creativity and customer service would suffer dramatically.

03 

Most of the UK’s advertising workforce is located outside London. 

Despite the global reputation of the capital’s advertising market, most people who work in the industry in the UK aren’t based in London. More than half (57%) work in the regions and cities outside the capital. Manchester is the largest of the city hubs in terms of the number of workers employed in the industry. There are some signs that concentrations of digital advertising expertise may be developing in these regional centres.

Media Centre Manchester

04 

The UK advertising market supplies more talent to other advertising hubs than any other country. 

The fluid international talent market can work both ways. Just as UK companies seek out overseas talent to add a further dimension to their business, a constant flow of people from the UK’s advertising businesses enhances the quality of other international hubs with the experience and knowledge they acquired here.

Sydney Opera House

What are we doing about our findings?

The UK advertising market has a major positive impact on the country’s economy, with London serving as one of the great global centres of the industry. Based on analysis of data from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, this report focuses on the people who make UK advertising what it is today. It examines the extent of recent migration from abroad and assesses the impact of international talent on the character and performance of the industry. It also gauges the precise whereabouts of the country’s advertising workforce, and explores the role played by companies in the cities and regions outside the London powerhouse.

Open to the world 

By James Murphy 

Chairman of the Advertising Association and CEO of adam&eveDDB 

The UK ad industry is a world-leader because we’re open to the world. It will be catastrophic to the long-term success of the sector if we can’t access the right talent quickly and easily. As our new campaign says, overseas workers in our sector are ‘a great advert for Britain’.

James-Murphy Advertising Association
Stephen Woodford Advertising Association

What happens next? 

By Stephen Woodford 

Chief Executive of the Advertising Association 

This new report has been enabled by unprecedented access to LinkedIn’s powerful dataset and we are very grateful for their work with us. It is the first overview of a whole industry that they have produced and it draws on a huge sample of 328,000 of their UK members working in advertising and marketing services. The extent to which the UK advertising and marketing sector relies on talent from overseas supports our belief that immigration is the most important area for Government support to maintain the UK’s position as the world’s leading global hub and drive growth domestically. Our new campaign, ‘A Great Advert for Britain’, brings this important issue to life.

A Great Advert for Britain

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