LONDON: The Advertising Association (AA), the industry’s trade body, has launched a major campaign to ensure the UK continues to welcome talented workers from abroad after the country leaves the European Union.

Depending on what, if any, transitional arrangements can be agreed, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU at the end of March 2019, and the country’s leading advertising and marketing executives insist that migration has had a positive impact which must be maintained post-Brexit.

The campaign, created by adam&eveDDB, is called “A Great Advert for Britain” and features prominent industry figures who speak of the benefits of attracting overseas workers.

Accompanying the launch of the campaign, which includes a giant billboard at Heathrow Airport, is a new report which uses data from LinkedIn, the online network for professionals, to show that the UK employs around 328,000 people in the advertising and marketing sector.

Some 43% of them work in London and, out of every 10,000 LinkedIn members in the London area, 556 are employed in advertising and marketing, or the equivalent of one in every 18 people.

And this represents a higher proportion of advertising workers within the overall employment market than in the other major international hubs examined in the report – Amsterdam, New York, Paris and Sydney.

What’s more, the proportion of the current advertising and marketing workforce in London who have migrated from abroad in the last 12 months is three times as high as in New York, and it is also higher than in Paris and Amsterdam.

More than a third of these recent migrants came from EU countries, the report added, with many others from the United States and Australia.

“The UK ad industry is a world-leader because we’re open to the world,” said James Murphy, Chairman of the Advertising Association and CEO of adam&eveDDB.

“It will be catastrophic to the long-term success of the sector if we can’t access the right talent quickly and easily. As our new campaign says, overseas workers in our sector are ‘a great advert for Britain’.”

Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive of the Advertising Association, added: “The extent to which the UK and advertising and marketing sector relies on talent from overseas supports our belief that immigration is the most important area for government support to maintain the UK’s position as the world’s leading global hub and drive growth domestically.”

Further evidence of the growing unease among UK advertisers and marketers about the impact of Brexit came in the latest IPA Bellwether Report, which found uncertainty about the UK’s future relationship with the EU is putting the brakes on marketing spend.

Almost 70% of UK companies kept their marketing budgets unchanged in Q3 2017, reported the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, which found marketers citing the hard to quantify impact of the Brexit negotiations and the UK’s departure from the EU as the main sources of uncertainty.

“What strikes us most from this quarter’s report is the extent to which UK companies – and their marketing budgets – are caught up in wider economic and geo-political uncertainty,” said Paul Bainsfair, the IPA’s Director General.

“The vast majority are in a seeming state of paralysis, reflected in the fact that almost 70% of UK marketers haven’t revised their budgets one way or another from this quarter to last.”

Sourced from Advertising Association, IPA; additional content by WARC staff