CBI, Warner Bros, Candy Crush and IPG on diversity and talent

The issue of talent and how to access it in a post-Brexit world came under the spotlight today (20 March) at Advertising Week Europe.

Leading figures from Facebook, the CBI, King and Warner Bros discussed talent
Leading figures from Facebook, the CBI, King and Warner Bros discussed talent

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director-general Carolyn Fairbairn called upon the creative industries to "keep calm" and continue to prioritise the access to talent they need to keep growing and thriving.

Speaking on a panel session, Fairbairn said "access to people, access to talent," should be the key focus for all businesses, especially the creative industries. Fairbairn was on the panel alongside Warner Bros president and managing director Josh Berger and Riccardo Zacconi, founder and chief executive of Candy Crush owner King Digital Entertainment.

The session, mediated by Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA at Facebook, sparked a lively discussion on stage at the Lyric Theatre about London living up to its creative reputation globally and how it attracts diverse talents from all around the world.

Zacconi, an Italian businessman now based in London, said 40% of his workforce were non-British and added that the tech sector inherently recognises and attracts talent from different parts of the world. "I have been here 13 years and the company went bust twice — once disrupted by Facebook — but what London gives us is an opportunity to set up a business here and then conquer the rest of Europe. And there is great talent to be found here."

Pools of talent and a "feasible investment climate" were cited as the reasons by Berger for Warner Bros making the UK its biggest production centre in the world, alongside Hollywood. The studios are currently filming Wonder Woman in the UK. He added that the UK creative sector leads the world in talent.

Investing in a diverse talent pool was a theme resonating across Advertising Week Europe 2017.

In a separate session, Interpublic chairman and chief executive Michael Roth also chewed over the issue of migration and free flow of talent. "The recent bans on entry to the US affected our business and our people, and in my view there can be no restrictions placed on immigration. We take the issue of talent and diversity very seriously," he said.

On the issue of diversity, he touched upon whether he could envision being replaced by a woman? "Yes and we already have a succession plan in place. Women make up 40% of our board, and I can see that happening," he aded.

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