Talent and Diversity

Attracting new and diverse talent to the advertising and marketing communications industry.

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The IPA is committed to nurturing existing talent, monitoring diversity within the industry and championing inclusivity in the workplace. We ensure there is a pool of new and ambitious talent waiting to join the industry.

Julian Douglas, Vice Chairman VCCP and Chair of IPA’s Talent Leadership Group continues his agenda to attract new and diverse talent to the industry. Working collaboratively with key partners, the group delivers a programme of inspirational events and initiatives as listed below.

Helping you to find and retain diverse talent

    Recruiting talent – entry level

    Apprenticeships (Creative Pioneers)

    Creative Pioneers is an award winning nationwide apprenticeship scheme to find the next generation of advertising, creative and digital media talent from a diverse pool, with over 35% of last year’s cohort coming from ethnically diverse backgrounds, with an even gender split. Since its launch in 2012, the programme has helped to place over 700 young people in more than 200 companies in adland. It is run in media partnership with Metro newspaper and the training is provided by Arch Apprentices. Over 70% of the apprentices tend to stay within the industry even after their training is complete. Through Creative Pioneers we also lead on creating new industry specific standards; the first cohort of the new Advertising & Media Exec is in learning. 

    Advertising Unlocked

    Each year in September we run Advertising Unlocked when over 100 advertising and marketing communications agencies and over 100 schools are being brought together for the industry’s largest open day. Upon being matched with a local school by the IPA, agencies are able to give young people from a diverse range of backgrounds access to what goes into making an advertising campaign successful, the different roles available to them and open the doors to advertising as a possible career path for them.


    The IPA is offering its members the opportunity to advertise their entry level roles to over 70,000 students and recent graduates, through the pioneering career app Debut

    Free job postings - experienced level

    Member agencies can advertise vacancies free of charge on Jobs Online

    Nurturing and celebrating talent

    Stepping into the Spotlight

    We recognise that in order to have better representation on screen we need more women in leadership positions in the business; so in 2017 we launched an inspiration programme for women in mid to senior level roles who are on the cusp of leadership called 'Stepping into the Spotlight'. These sessions run twice a year and we have worked with Channel 4, Lloyds, Stylist and Burberry.

    International Women’s Day events and celebrations

    We held our first IWD celebration event with men; and with agencies and brands to bring in outside inspiration as well as link in our Effectiveness Films which had diversity as a running theme; by way of pillar to pillar collaboration.

    The iList

    The IPA, in partnership with Unilever, launched the iList initiative in November 2019 with the aim of showcasing and celebrating role models who are truly promoting and championing inclusivity within the advertising industry - no matter what level a person works at.

    The members of the inaugural iList announced on 26 May 2020  will share their remarkable work with the whole industry, providing inspiration and practical steps to help shift the culture within and increase better representation in our creative work.

    Diversity and inclusion

    IPA Census and Targets

    Over the last three years, the IPA has been tracking ethnicity and diversity progress via an online survey sent to all our Member agencies. The data is aggregated and the results are shared with all IPA Members and Campaign who invariably report on the findings.

    The IPA 2015-2017 President, Tom Knox established a set of diversity targets for our industry to work towards:

    • Women to hold 40% of senior positions.
    • At least 15% of people in leadership positions will be from non-white backgrounds.
    • At least 25% of entry level recruits should be BAME.

    The targets were aspirational and ambitious and they have given focus for a serious commitment and desire to make change happen from agencies up and down the country. We already have a number of agencies who have, and are close to achieving on or more of these targets.

    The participation in the IPA Agency Census will become a mandatory component of CPD Accreditation from 2021 for all our member agencies – and we are working on supporting them through 2020 to make sure they are comfortable collecting this data and understand why it’s important to have a baseline.

    Future of Fairness

    The concept, content and direction of this publication is led by the Talent Leadership Group. Every 10 years, the IPA creates a major report on a talent related topic area. This year, we are focusing on diversity and inclusion in our publication "The Future of Fairness".

    Developing existing talent

    • We continue to run a comprehensive training programme of over 60 courses and 7 qualifications covering: People & Leadership, Brands & Strategy, Creativity and Commercial skills.
    • IPA qualifications are now accessible in 87 countries.
    • Our basic level qualification, the Foundation Certificate is ingrained as a ‘must take’ for industry newcomers and is our most popular exam which we invigilate nationwide for around 1,000 people every year.
    • The number of accredited MIPAs is almost at four hundred, with one thousand people on the cusp of being accredited. The MIPA programme now includes a suite of ten courses and seven MIPA accredited qualifications, which are made up of a blend of pre-work, face to face learning and a marked assessment.
    • Our learning on understanding and building brands is delivered through a year-long programme called the IPA Excellence Diploma. This annual and intensive look into brands for the brightest minds in the business is now delivered through online and offline events, bespoke presentation days and imaginative coursework. There is a focus on fast strategies and presentations with delegates being exposed to new ways of thinking by challenging industry leaders.
    • On effectiveness, we have updated and expanded our training, developing a new course: Effectiveness Essentials which will offer a solid grounding in measuring advertising effectiveness.
    • Digital Performance Certificate covers key disciplines in digital marketing including SEO and Paid Search and helps delegates develop the skills to plan and implement successful digital marketing campaigns.
    • Members are able to showcase their professional development programmes through the IPA CPD Gold Awards.


    We are currently working with the following partners by sharing best practice, thought leadership and through event participation, consultancy work and judging awards:


    Leila Siddiqi

    Associate Director, Diversity

    Office Number

    0207 201 8265

    Last updated 26 May 2020

    Portraying diversity and inclusion for a modern day audience, that is both welcoming non-stereotypical communications and actively demanding a more accurate reflection of British society is one of our industry’s greatest opportunities.