LONDON: The UK advertising industry has moved to put advertising on the same professional footing as accountants, architects and lawyers, with the launch of the IPA's Accredited MIPA programme.

The IPA described this as a "rigorous qualifications-based standard" which will become the "must-have badge of professionalism".

Individuals will have to be employed by an IPA member agency, to have accumulated 5 stars of IPA qualifications, and completed at least 24 hours of eligible industry learning in each of the previous three years, to achieve the standard.

A former President of the organisation, Moray MacLennan - currently Worldwide CEO at M&C Saatchi - observed: "In my day you could just busk it. Now you can't. You need to Accredit it."

The Accredited MIPA programme forms part of the Continuous Professional Development scheme encouraging agencies to provide development opportunities for employees to help build their expertise and enhance their skills, an area where they are performing poorly, a recent report suggested.

The 2016 SoDA report highlighted the issue of the inexperience of staff at agencies around the world, with one fifth of clients citing this as a factor in terminating their relationship with an agency.

"We expect inexperience to be an increasingly prevalent causal factor in agency-client relationships going south, as the percentage of agencies who indicated they are not providing any training to their staff almost tripled in 2016, growing from 5% to 14%," the report stated.

Research by LinkedIn has also pointed to a talent drain from the agency world as key employees are no longer quitting to join a rival but are leaving to move into other industries – usually technology and consulting – where their skills are more greatly valued.

Agencies ranked poorly on the main cultural and career factors valued by employees. "We need to frame the opportunity that's beyond the compensation and competitive benefits," Jill Kelly, Chief Communications Officer for DigitasLBi, told the 4A's Transformation 2016 conference earlier this year.

By raising standards and demonstrating the professionalism of advertising, the IPA hopes to not only make it more valued by clients but to make advertising sought-after as a career by the best talent.

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff