Wednesday 1 May 2019 2:09 pm

Advertisers losing talent to deep-pocketed tech giants, says industry boss

Advertising firms are missing out on the best recruits as top talent is scooped up by tech firms, a senior industry boss has said.

Nigel Vaz, newly-elected president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), said advertisers should act like start-ups in a bid to match the deep pockets and attractive corporate cultures of tech firms.

Read more: Online advertising continues to grow as UK ad spend hits £24bn

“We find it harder to attract the best talent, to have the same brand appeal, or to pay as much as the technology giants and consultancies that now comprise our competitive set,” he said in his inaugural speech this afternoon.

Unveiling his strategy for the next two years, Vaz said the IPA will encourage agencies to act like start-ups and look to develop new business models.

The comments compound the disruption faced by advertisers as tech firms and consultancies take a growing share of advertising dollars.

Advertising giant WPP, which is undergoing radical cost-cutting plan, last week posted a decline in like-for-like sales after a string of client losses.

“In our own industry, we see that the value of creativity is in question,” Vaz said. “Our ability to make money is constrained, as is our ability to reinvest.”

The IPA boss, who is the first to come from a tech background, urged industry leaders to reimagine the role of the ad agency, as an increasing number of brands opt to take their marketing in-house.

He said advertisers must focus their attention on technology if they are to deliver growth for their clients.

“By truly committing to reimagine our clients’ businesses as a partner for growth, we will transform our own agency models and ways of working alongside new partners from data, technology and commerce to reimagine brands, communications and experiences,” Vaz said

Read more: WPP suffers sales drop after ‘significant’ client losses

Advertising spend in the UK grew to a record £24bn last year, but forecasts remain cautious amid fears business could be badly impacted by Brexit.

“This tells us it is not a time to retreat, but instead ride out the uncertainty with belief and invest further in the reputation that UK advertising already has on the world stage,” he said.