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IPA data proves positive correlation between training and business success

Agencies investing in the development of their people through external courses and qualifications are being rewarded with more business, generating greater levels of income growth. This is according to new IPA data which was presented by Andrew Pinkess, Director of Innovation at AMV BDDO, and supported by case studies at the IPA Commercial Conference today (8th July 2015).


The comprehensive analysis* plots agencies’ gross income growth against the number of Continuous Professional Development hours completed. It further reveals the positive correlation is irrespective of the agencies’ income group. In reviewing the findings, the IPA has identified that the pattern is likely to be cyclical with income growth enabling greater levels of investment in staff development.




Agencies with gross income up to £5m:

62.5% of agencies with more than 500 hours of Continuous Professional Development revealed growth in income of 10% or more.

Agency example – Hunterlodge staff average 200 hours of CPD a year and generate £16 return on every £1 spent on CPD.


Income between £5m-£15m:

80% of agencies with more than 500 hours of Continuous Professional Development revealed growth in income of 15% of more.

Agency example - M2M has increased their learning and development year-on-year which has helped to achieve 100% client retention in 2014.


Income £15m+:

87.5% of agencies with more than 3,000 hours of CPD learning revealed growth in income of 15% or more.

Agency example - 99% of staff at AMV BBDO in client-facing roles have 24 hours or more of CPD hours and 100% of commercial managers receive negotiation training.


All three agencies have achieved IPA Gold CPD accreditation for their outstanding professional development programmes.


Says Andrew Pinkess, Director of Innovation, AMV BDDO and Co-Chair IPA Continuous Development Group: “Training within the agency community has for too long been seen as nice to have window-dressing, rather than a business fundamental. This analysis suggests for the first time that agencies that invest in CPD grow faster then their peers. So, it should be commercial teams pushing HR and management to invest more money in training, rather than the other way round".


Says Tom Lewis, Finance Director, IPA: “It is great to see this IPA research highlighting something that our industry has long suspected intrinsically. CPD can now properly be seen as an investment in business success, for clients as well as agencies. Going forward, the IPA needs to look at how to help agencies invest in CPD for long-term benefit while managing the short-term needs of the business.”


Says Patrick Mills, Director of Professional Development, IPA: “We have always known that learning and development builds the confidence of agency practitioners and reinforces their professionalism with clients, recent evidence from CPD Gold Accredited agencies has supported this and the fact that it can have real business benefits. The great thing about this new research is that it provides us with tangible proof across all IPA members accredited in CPD that upskilling staff is good for the top line.”

Notes to editors:


IPA Commercial Conference

The 2015 IPA Commercial Conference explored how to move from a short-term cost focus to a longer-term value focus and how to manage the tension between the long and short to produce more profitable business results. Further information:



The IPA’s Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme is designed to ensure agency skills match clients' needs and the agency's business goals. It aims to help the industry to offer its employees a defined career path, attract and retain high quality staff, and ensure agencies prosper.




The analysis used the following data sets:

·         Gross Income growth between 2010/11 and 2012/13

·         Number of  CPD hours based on successful completion of IPA qualifications and courses

The data is split by gross income using the 2010/11 income as the base.


This analysis is based on data from 155 agencies.
Last updated 10/07/2015

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