Ad talent seeks purpose as Apple, P&G and Unilever top list of dream employers

By John Glenday | Reporter

February 18, 2021 | 5 min read

A clear sense of purpose is the greatest draw for footloose global marketing talent choosing which brands and companies to work for, according to research by the World Federation of Advertisers.


Ad talent seeks purpose as Apple, P&G and Unilever top list of dream employers

A “strong/clear corporate purpose and mission” was the biggest draw for client-side marketers with “strong brands in the portfolio” placing second and “a solid track record of performance” being the third most important attribute.

What appeals to marketing talent

  • The findings led a worldwide survey of over 430 global marketers conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers in conjunction with 12 national advertiser associations from nations such as the US, UK and Japan.

  • Beyond the headline stats, regional variations in corporate culture and business were revealed including with purpose being markedly less coveted by media and digital marketers as well as respondents based in south-east Asia and those in junior roles.

  • On the flip side, an envy-mustering creative track record was most appealing to south-east Asian marketers, especially those just starting their career paths.

  • Male marketers were notably more earnest toward engaging with companies which boasted a strong portfolio of brands while their female peers and Europeans broadly prioritised sustainable and ethical business practices.

  • Marketers on the move also favoured firms that put the customer first, were proven innovators and businesses whose reputation for nurturing strong marketing talent preceded them.

  • Interestingly the draw of consumer-centric brands became more pronounced among marketers with over 20 years of experience.

  • The research established that a preference for strong insights was attractive to female marketers but less so for those engaged in procurement.

  • A bulging trophy cabinet drew admiring attention from entry-level marketers and found more across-the-board acceptance marketers based in the Middle East and Africa.

  • Further up the employment tree mid-level managers and those with the reins of procurement favoured companies with strong agency partnerships.

  • When cut comes to thrust a majority of marketers would lay their hats wherever they can find a dynamic and informal environment that encourages organic, internal promotions.

The companies marketers want to work for

  • Asked which employers best embodied these principles in practice most marketers selected Apple, with Unilever and Procter & Gamble following on behind.

  • Worryingly however a scant 7% of those quizzed expressed a belief that their current employer embodied all their desired traits.

  • WFA CEO Stephan Loerke said: "Marketing talent is more selective than ever; seeking to work for brands and companies that have clear values and a vision that goes above and beyond driving business performance and delivers meaningful and measurable societal benefit."

  • Procter & Gamble's high rank reflects the consumer goods giants focus on purpose during the pandemic by harnessing its marketing might to promote mask-wearing and social distancing.

  • The brand has not been afraid to engage on more controversial social issues, harnessing brands such as Secret to highlight how women were bearing a disproportionate share of the pandemic burden.

  • P&G has also partnered with TikTok influencer Charli D'Amelio to reinforce the social distancing message using the #DistanceToo hashtag.

  • For its part Unilever has pledged to purge all advertising of stereotypes and engage with a more diverse supplier list as part of an inclusivity drive.


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