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Creative industry launches Real Living Wage Pledge

Creative industry launches Real Living Wage Pledge

Spearheaded by W+K London & Creature, the initiative aims to ensure fair pay and encourage diversity in the ad industry.

34 of the UK’s leading agencies have signed the Real Living Wage Pledge, an initiative which ensures everybody working in the sector - including interns and those on work experience over the age of 18 - will be paid a real living wage. 

Spearheaded by Creature and Wieden+Kennedy London, and supported by the the AAR, IPA, Oystercatchers, and Grey London’s Diversity Taskforce, the pledge helps to ensure that nobody should ever feel a career in the creative industry, which employs more than 2m people and contributes almost £92bn to the UK economy, is unavailable to them for financial reasons.

Companies who sign up to the Real Living Wage Pledge promise to pay everyone working for them or on their premises a real living wage of £10.20 per hour in London and £8.75 elsewhere, whether they be cleaners, creatives or runners, permanent or freelance. By comparison, the Government Living Wage is £7.50 per hour for those aged 25 and over.

Research has revealed 31% of university graduates working as interns are doing so for no pay, with numbers of unpaid internships doubling since 2010, and the monthly cost to an intern working in London averaging more than £1000.

The following agencies have all taken the pledge: 1492, 18 Feet & Rising, Above & Beyond, AMV BBDO, AnalogFolk, Anomaly, BJL, The Corner, Creature, Droga5, Essence, Everything Different, Grey London, Integer, Isobel, Lucky Generals, MBA, McCann London, Mediacom, Mindshare, Momentum, Mother, MRM-Meteorite, MullenLowe London, Now, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sunshine, TBWA\London, Uncommon, VCCP, Wavemaker, WCRS, Wieden+Kennedy London, and Y&R London. 

“Advertising, like so many industries, has a diversity problem - and, thankfully, there are a number of people working to fix that," says Dan Cullen-Shute, CEO and co-founder of Creature. "In the past, we’d ask for relevant experience, and then too often not pay people when they’re trying to get it, which means the doors to our industry are shut to people who can’t afford to work for free. We’re enormously proud to be standing alongside a whole host of brilliant companies whose doors will now forever more be definitively open to everyone.” 

Helen Andrews, MD, Wieden+Kennedy London, added: “A simple thing we can all do to remove a barrier to entry to the industry is to ensure we pay people in entry level positions enough to live. As a minimum, we pay everyone who works on our premises the real living wage and are proud to help lead the pledge to help make the creative sector more accessible to all.”

To find out more, including how to sign up, visit or contact

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