Less than a fortnight since out of work adman Tony Simms launched a campaign to find a job that sparked a debate on ageism in advertising, the former agency boss has received 17 job offers – but each company has asked him to work for nothing.
Simms told Mumbrella that each potential employer – which were from digital, advertising and marketing companies – has offered him a position on the condition he brings in business before he is paid.
“I’ve been told, ‘You’d be great for our company. We love your spirit. You have all the right skills. The only catch is, we can’t pay you.'”
“I’ve had to turn these offers down. I can’t work for nothing – nobody works for free,” he said.
However, Simms said that he has been encouraged by the level of support he’s received.”My phone did not stop ringing for a week. I’ve been offered a huge amount of encouragement. It seems that many people have gone through – or are going through – the same thing.”
Simms’ campaign began with a protest at Martin Place on Monday 7 November, which led to an interview with Sunrise.
“I’m more determined than ever to find a job,” Simms added. “You should stand up for who you are – and how you go about things. I just want someone to give me a fair go.”
“There are many senior people without jobs who are finding it tough out there. But this isn’t just affecting them. It’s affecting the entire industry – grads, who lack mentors. And clients, who aren’t getting the depth of input from their agencies – which ultimately affects the end product.”
Simms’ campaign was followed by an opinion article headlined ‘Am I ageist… or a realist?’ by new McCann boss Ben Lilley that fueled the debate on ageism in advertising.