We are facing a lost generation in adland as the combined effects of Covid-19 and decades of recruiting from too small a pool take effect, according to Paul Frampton, EMEA president of marketing services partner Control v Exposed and chair of The Youth Group.

Speaking at MAD//Fest and New Digital Age‘s 99//Club Digital Festival last week, Frampton said: “We are failing the next generation of adland”.

He said that the coronavirus pandemic had only exacerbated an already alarming situation. Pre-Covid, just over a third of ad companies offered vacancies for school leavers, and since the start of the pandemic nearly a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds had been furloughed, more than any other demographic.

9% of people in that demographic had lost their jobs, and graduate recruitment had dropped by 76%. “There are not enough opportunities…and the opportunities that there are are given to people that look the same.” he said.

A fifth of advertising employees went to private school, rising to more than a third (35%) at senior management level, with a staggering percentage having secured their roles through personal or employee networks.

How rampant nepotism has become a big issue

“We have a real rampant nepotism issue,” claimed Frampton, who said the issue was exacerbated by expecting graduates or school leavers to have experience already. Frampton argued that it is more important for school leavers and graduates to get the support, mentoring and training needed  to progress on entering the industry.

“I’m asking that everyone here supports things like the Brixton Finishing School, the IPA’s Creative Pioneers and other initiatives that encourage us to find opportunities to bring the disadvantaged, those without work experience in the industry,” he urged.

Brixton Finishing School is MAD//Fest London’s diversity partner and receives a donation for every download of our event app.

Control v Exposed already had two apprentices working, despite being a new company in Europe.

Equality, better ways of working and the difficulties faced by Generation Z were key themes across the week of the 99//Club Digital Festival, which saw 99 speakers take to the virtual stage for 99 seconds each on topics that mattered to them.