Do you think I’m sexy?

Simon Hadfield
By Simon Hadfield | 6 July 2023
Simon Hadfield

Doing what I do now, I have lots of conversation with lots of people about lots of things. You’d be surprised, I quite like it and consider myself rather a good Agony Aunt (as well as recruiter). One the of the recurring chats is around the state of the industry.

For context, I worked for agencies for just short of 30 years (my LinkedIn doesn’t start at the beginning, and I’d just turned 17 when I proudly became a Despatch Boy in my first industry role).

I joined agency life as my cousin Ceri Hutchison seemed to have done well and was constantly out to lunch and being entertained and flown from various glamourous location to another. Granted she was wise enough to pursue a career in media and not creative.

At that tender age of 17 I was very excited to build a career in the ‘arts’ but also have a damn good time doing it – and I did. Oh the stories I could tell, that’s for another time though.

The point I’m getting to is, that the kids don’t seem to be flocking to, or really wanting to join agency life from what I can tell. As we all know there is a distinct lack of talent coming through which is very concerning for the years to come. Why is it? Has digital made it less desirable and more functional? Has the ongoing battle with client’s procurement and therefore agency remuneration and the knock-on effect of lower salaries finally taken its toll?

The cream of the crop out of uni used to run at agencies and carve out wonderful, well-paid careers ultimately ending in a drinking problem, divorce or a nervous breakdown but the kids didn’t know that and thought it looked like fun. Not so any longer it seems.

Have we lost our sex appeal and how do we get it back? What does our industry look like in 10 or 20 years? Yes, it will be different but will it be desirable, creative and fun. I really hope so.


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