Independent creative agency Pablo has launched the Pablo Living Wage, guaranteeing all full-time staff a minimum annual salary of £30,000 next year.
This is in a bid to tackle both the diversity crisis in advertising and soften the cost-of-living impact for junior staff.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that young people from privileged backgrounds are five times more likely to make it in the creative industries compared with their less privileged counterparts.
Pablo hopes their new living wage initiative will help redress this imbalance which also sees just 8.1% of the 1.9 million jobs in the creative industries filled by those from underrepresented groups.
The aim is to create an industry where all members of society have equal opportunity and challenge the notion it’s only for the privileged few. Pablo’s launch of the industry’s first Gender Neutral Parental Leave policy last year was the start of the agency taking action to meaningfully open-up an industry in desperate need of diversification and better representation – a problem only being exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis.
This is just the beginning of Pablo’s focus on tackling one of the often-forgotten pillars of DE&I: Access. The Pablo Living Wage is Pablo’s first step on their journey to opening up access to our industry and creating more tangible opportunities to individuals who might not otherwise have been considering or aware of the careers here.
Their next step will focus on a radical overhaul of recruitment practices as well as the acceleration of the Pablo Starters programme supporting entry level talent from ‘non advertising’ backgrounds and without higher education into an apprenticeship style programme that develops skills from the ground up.
As it stands, the national minimum wage equates to £18,964 annually, and the London Living Wage £23,302.50. This means that those team members earning the Pablo living wage will be £6,697 better off.
Hannah Penn, Joint Managing Director said, “The average starting salary in our industry today is still only £24k. That’s little more than what we started on 15 years ago.
“It’s totally out of touch with the demands of the industry and of life today. Low starting salaries mean workers from lower-income backgrounds, without support from the bank of mum and dad, simply cannot afford to take a job in the advertising industry.”
Harriet Knight Joint Managing Director added, “The beauty of advertising is that you don’t need any formal qualifications for it – it involves skills and experience that you can very much learn on the job.
“Which should make it the most inclusive and diverse sector, but the cripplingly low starting salaries make it a luxury most cannot afford. We believe actions speak louder than any words, and we wanted to put our money where our mouth is to set a new standard which we hope more will follow.
“Our junior staff need more support, and we want to welcome different brains into our industry in a meaningful way.”
Hannah Penn said, “Our hope through the Pablo Living Wage and the further work we are doing to open-up our industry in the future, is that we will create a pathway that wouldn’t normally exist for people from underrepresented backgrounds.
“We know we need to do better as an agency and industry, which is exactly why we have taken this first step and are committed to more action in this space in the short term. We want to make advertising not just an exciting career prospect to more people, but one which is also financially viable from day one.”