Creative Directors Forum seeks better deal for placement teams

- The country's top creative directors have pledged to win a better deal for placement teams forced to live in near poverty while fighting to secure the few agency jobs on offer.

- The country's top creative directors have pledged to win a better deal for placement teams forced to live in near poverty while fighting to secure the few agency jobs on offer.

Their aim is to give young hopefuls better financial security and better prospects of permanent jobs at the end of their placement periods.

All top 20 UK agencies will be asked to commit themselves to hiring at least one placement team a year--with the threat of a public shaming if they renege on their promise.

The initiative, by the IPA Creative Directors Forum, is intended to deflect criticism that placements are no more than a source of cheap labour for agencies while providing young creatives with career opportunities matching those of graduate trainee account people.

Chris O'Shea, the Forum's chairman, said: "We know we can't make the system perfect but we can make it better. These young creatives are the industry's seedcorn."

The action plan was drawn up after a meeting last month at which 23 young creatives either on placement or hoping to be offered one explained their problems to O'Shea and fellow Forum members Peter Souter, Trevor Beattie and Dave Droga.

As a result, the Forum is pressing the IPA to lobby the Government to extend to young creatives the concession it already makes to young musicians who are treated as self-employed and have their benefits protected if they take temporary assignments.

The Forum hopes such a concession could encourage more women creatives into the industry. "I'm sure that one of the reasons so many women drop out of the placement scheme at an early stage is because they don't relish the prospect of dossing down on a mate's floor for weeks on end," O'Shea added.

Meanwhile, the Forum will urge agencies to make their working environments less intimidating for young creatives by supplying them with a guide of basic information.

"It should tell them things like who they should show their work to, who they should accept briefs from and how long they should spend on a job," O'Shea said. "We've always assumed they know these things, but they don't."



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