Editorial: Bring on the graduates to avert adland talent drain

So JWT is on the hunt for a chief executive ... again. The task of finding a replacement for Alison Burns falls to the agency's executive chairman, Toby Hoare. And he has an unenviable challenge ahead.

Burns succeeded in consolidating an unsteady ship. Account losses were reduced and, in appointing Russell Ramsey, she secured a strong executive creative director for the agency. Hoare will be more than a little disappointed that Burns was so keen to return to New York.

So the new chief executive will inherit a more stable agency, but one that is still a shadow of the agency of old. Now down to fifth in the agency rankings, JWT needs to find a new reason for clients to reappraise its offer and it needs to reinvigorate its place within the JWT network. Finding someone up for the challenge will not be easy.

But JWT's problems are also those of the wider market. Today, adland has a pitched battle on its hands. The very best ad people can easily be swayed away from the business at every stage of their career. The most senior executives are either happily remunerated in big, well-paid roles, locked in by holding company contracts full of all sorts of incentives. Either that or they've started up their own shop.

For the middle ranks, the chief executives of tomorrow, there's the knowledge that they can earn more elsewhere, as well as the fear that there's too much competition for the same job.

Finally, there are the graduates. This issue of Campaign is devoted to the people who will shape the industry of the future. The advertising business needs to keep graduates as fascinated with the industry as they always have been. Although adland does not compete with banks or management consultants in terms of salary, it wipes the floor in terms of colour.

For adland to continue to attract the very best people, it needs to maintain its unique sense of fun combined with hard business nous, now more than ever.