News

Sorrell: Agency bosses in Asia’s growth markets need to learn to live with high staff churn

Agency bosses in Asia’s fast growing markets are going to have to get used to managing high staff turnover, Sir Martin Sorrell said at an event in India today.

The first graduating class of the WPP School of  Marketing and Communications in Shanghai

The first graduating class of the WPP School of Marketing and Communications in Shanghai

Poor management was partly responsible for people leaving jobs in advertising, but churn was an inevitable consequence of a fast-growth industry, the WPP chief executive said at an International Advertising Association session in Mumbai.

The regular movement of people is making it very difficult to run advertising businesses in Asia, Sorrell said, adding that “We have to get used to managing higher turnover because of the shortage of talent.”

Sorrell pointed to other industries in which good businesses are built with a stronger focus on training and less tolerance of mediocre employees.

“It’s not an accident that in these industries they build great businesses organically on principle, and they also train people aggressively and have a philosophy of ‘up or out’; if you don’t succeed you’ve gone. We don’t do that in our industry,” he said.

Martin Sorrell fields questions from Arnab Goswami today

Martin Sorrell in Mumbai today

The biggest problem is that “we steal talent from the competition”, Sorrell noted, hinting that adland needed to try hard to bring in new people from outside the industry.

His comments come on the day that WPP announced the first graduating class of the WPP School of Marketing and Communications in Shanghai. This was set up to “counter act” the talent issue in China, Sorrell said.

He added that he would like a similar school to be established in India, where Sorrell spends much of his time, in the near future.

In a press release about the WPP school’s first class to graduate, Sorrell said: “All of us at WPP are very proud of our Marketing and Communications School in Shanghai and, particularly, the first graduating class, which is already starting to have a significant impact on the Chinese advertising industry and beyond. It is emblematic of the Chinese approach to building an industry’s capability by devoting significant resources to education.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.

 

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing