Industry News: The big talent crunch - A view from Xavier Rees

Campaign Magazine - Sept 2021

The fact is there simply isn’t enough talent to go round right now. And its not all down to the pandemic. It's time to nurture our own and to look for new people from further afield, from beyond the borders of adland.

At first I thought it was just us. But every agency leader I’ve spoken to in the past month is saying the same – we are all struggling to hire enough talent. A whole series of events has converged to create a perfect storm that makes recruitment more challenging now than at any other time in my 25 years in advertising. The fact is: there simply isn’t enough talent to go round, right now.

The advertising industry isn’t alone here. From logistics to hospitality, employers are facing the worst staff shortages since the 1990s with job vacancies hitting 953,000 in the three months to July, according to the Office for National Statistics.

We’ve all worked so hard to keep our businesses in shape over the past 18 months. So the fact that adland’s phones are suddenly ringing off the hook – as brands remember how critical advertising is to their future growth – is cause for celebration. But there’s a catch – and every agency lucky enough to be growing right now finds itself fishing in a considerably smaller talent pool than it was pre pandemic.

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