Sir Martin Sorrell: Creative talent will dwindle in West compared to southern and eastern markets

WPP employs 175,000 people in 110 countries

Creative talent is likely to dwindle in the West compared to its market counterparts in the East and South in the coming years, according to WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell.

Earlier this afternoon Sorrell discussed the trends shaping the global ad business across 110 countries on a LinkedIn blog, where he said New York is still the "centre of the world", but that economic, political and social power is becoming more evenly disrtibuted in the eastern and southern territories.

Sorrell, who spoke about how technology is transforming the marketing landscape last month at the Cannes Lions festival, said that power is shifting away from traditional Western powers towards the South, East and South East where there are rapidly developing economies.

Although New York is the centre of the world, economic, political and social power is becoming more distributed “marching South, East and South East: to Latin America, India, China, Russia, Africa and the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe.

“Although growth rates in these markets have slowed, the underlying trends persist as economic development lifts countless millions into lives of greater prosperity, aspiration and consumption.”

The West is also suffering from a lack of creative talent in comparison wih these nations for two reasons: "The squeeze is coming from two directions: declining birth rates and smaller family sizes; and the relentless rise of the web and associated digital technologies.

“Simply, there will be fewer entrants to the jobs market and, when they do enter it, young people expect to work for tech-focused, more networked, less bureaucratic companies. It is hard now; it will be harder in 20 years.”

There are complex changes occurring in the post digital world too. Firstly is the mentality regarding online services. Companies have and will soon stop asking for 'digital' marketing strategies as “it will simply be an inherent part of what we’re expected to offer."

“Taking a broader view of our increasingly tech-based world, words like 'digital', 'programmatic' and 'data' will soon feel out-dated and obsolete as, enmeshed with so many aspects of our daily lives, network-based technologies, automation and the large-scale analysis of information become the norm.”

Finally, discussing the changing dynamics of traditional retail structures, Sorrell said that large retailers like Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour have dominated because they deal with producers while consumers deal with them – essentially acting as middlemen.

“This won’t change overnight, but manufacturers can now have direct relationships with consumers via the web and e-commerce platforms in particular. Amazon is the example we all think of in the West, but watch out for Alibaba, the Chinese behemoth due to list on the New York Stock Exchange later this summer in what could be the largest IPO in corporate history.”

Sir Martin Sorrell previously spoke of the shift in power between retailers and manufacturers, driven by the rise in e-commerce, last summer.

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