Today sees the launch of “A Great Advert For Britain“; a campaign created by the Advertising Association, celebrating the role of foreign workers in the ad industry and warning it is under threat because of Brexit.

The campaign aims to protect the sector post-Brexit by championing access to global talent and to celebrate the immense contribution of international talent to the UK. Based on photo portraits of individuals from overseas working in advertising, with a message that they are ‘A Great Advert for Britain’, the ads will appear on posters, online display advertising and in the press, in media space donated by media owners in support of the campaign.

Image source: Campaign

A Great Advert For Britain” has been prompted by the findings of the AA’s latest Advertising Pays report, the sixth in the series; ‘World Class Talent, World Class Advertising’ – in partnership with LinkedIn, revealing that a diverse international workforce is central to the UK’s position as a global advertising and marketing hub. Here are some of the key findings:

1) Advertising is a major player in the London employment market

Out of every 10,000 LinkedIn members in the London area, 556 are employed in the advertising and marketing industry, which is equivalent to one in every 18 people. This represents a higher proportion of advertising workers within the overall employment market than can be seen in the other major international hubs examined in the report – Amsterdam, New York, Paris and Sydney.

2) International talent plays a pivotal role in the UK 

The proportion of the current advertising and marketing workforce in London that has migrated here from abroad in the last 12 months is three times higher than the corresponding figure in New York; and also higher than in Paris and Amsterdam. More than a third of this talent comes from within the EU, with many others arriving from the United States and Australia.

3) Most of the UK’s advertising workforce is located outside London

Despite the global reputation of the capital’s advertising market, most people who work in the industry in the UK aren’t based in London. More than half (57%) work in the regions and cities outside the capital, with Manchester being the largest of the city hubs in terms of the number of workers employed in the industry.

4) The UK advertising market supplies more talent to other advertising hubs than any other country

The fluid international talent market can work both ways. Just as UK companies seek out overseas talent to add a further dimension to their business, a constant flow of people from the UK’s advertising businesses enhances the quality of other international hubs with the experience and knowledge they acquired here.

So, what happens next? 

Stephen Woodford, CEO of the Advertising Association said, “The new report highlights the most important area for Government support to maintain the UK’s position as the world’s leading global advertising hub and drive growth domestically, brought to life by the new campaign”. Alongside its campaign, the Advertising Association has met with the Migration Advisory Committee, an influential non-departmental advisory body, to share the report findings to help inform plans for access to talent post-Brexit.


Read the full Advertising Pays report, ‘World Class Talent, World Class Advertising’ here.