Agencies urged to be flexible to attract and retain staff

Agencies are being urged to allow their staff to work more flexibly

in an attempt to prevent a "brain drain" from the industry and make it

more attractive to young entrants.



The initiative comes from the IPA, which is asking member shops to sign

up to a voluntary code committing them to creating better work-life

balances for their staff.



The move marks a real change within the industry, which has a reputation

for forcing staff to work long hours. The IPA believes that

advertising's working environment must be made more pleasant if its best

talent is to be retained and graduates are not dissuaded from

joining.



Hamish Pringle, the IPA's director-general, said: "We'll never compete

with accountancy and the law on graduate salaries even though we've

always been able to offer excitement and even glory. But that's no

longer enough for young people and we have to do something about

it."



The guidelines don't necessarily advocate shorter working weeks and more

working from home, but they do suggest agencies take advantage of

technology to adopt less rigid working patterns. They follow a year's

consultation by the IPA, backed by government funding.



Christine Walker, the chairman of the IPA Retention of Talent working

party, said: "Since June there has been a downturn in some parts of the

industry and this has had an effect on the workforce. However, the need

to retain, and indeed attract, top talent remains paramount if we are to

maintain our professional standards and achieve the respect, custom and

financial reward of our client base."



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