EDITORIAL: Recruits deterred by industry ethics

Working in advertising used to be like making a pact with the

Devil. The business would reward you well but its demands were

all-consuming, sucking you dry and spitting you out once you'd outlived

your usefulness.

High salaries were danger money for being in an industry where job

security was an alien concept. Senior managers worked crazy hours and

expected everybody else to do likewise. And if you didn't want to remain

on the treadmill, there were plenty of others willing to take your


The recession of the early 90s changed much of that. Thousands of

industry jobs were lost, agencies grew leaner and a freeze on

recruitment then has led to a paucity of experienced and talented people


Moreover, the cold climate forced the business to re-evaluate


Good staff had to be cossetted or they would leave without ready

replacements to fill their shoes. And what was the point of being in the

office until midnight if you were too tired to be productive?

Of course, places with time-locked working practices still exist but

there are far fewer of them. Today, agencies such as Abbott Mead Vickers

BBDO have proved that enduring success can only be built with staff

treated with respect and decency in return for their loyalty.

As the feature on page 24 points out, the industry has woken up to the

fact that people are its most important assets and that allowing staff

to strike an equal balance between work and home is right both morally

and commercially.

Call it enlightened self-interest, if you like. More likely the shift is

simply a manifestation of a wider social change in which company ethics

are scrutinised as never before, causing social and commercial behaviour

to become inextricably linked.

Whatever the reason, the trend is to be welcomed. However, much remains

to be done. Not only are management consultancy and the City now as

equally alluring to graduates as advertising, but the industry must draw

its recruits from a generation whose philosophy about work is a world

apart from that of their parents.

They neither expect nor want a job for life and demand instant

gratification from what they do. If they don't get it, they'll look

elsewhere for fulfillment - and it's a reasonable bet it won't be in



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