Thinkerbell launches over-55s internship to curb ageism

Thinkerbell has launched a paid, eight-week internship for people 55-and-over to push back against ageism and inject talent with “years of life experience” into the agency and industry.

“This is probably discriminatory to everyone else. Did the lawyers advise against it? Yes,” the PwC-backed agency admitted.

The program, dubbed Thrive@55, comes after WPP’s global CEO, Mark Read, apologised for saying on a recent investor call: “If you look at our people – the average age of someone who works at WPP is less than 30 – they don’t hark back to the 1980s, luckily.”

Apologising on Twitter for the widely-condemned comments, Read said he “was wrong to use age to try to make a point. People over 40 can do great digital marketing just as people under 30 can make great TV ads.”

Thinkerbell has noticed an “obvious age gap” in most advertising agencies, and noted just 5% of agency employees across the world are over 50. The median staff member age is 38.

Emma O’Leary, from Thinkerbell’s culture, operations, and people team, said the agency wants its team and clients to reap the rewards of a more diverse staff line up.

“We’ve created this internship program because our older generation are massively underrepresented in the advertising industry, and have a lifetime of experience to bring to our agency, and our industry,” she said.

“You could be a retired hotel concierge that’s interested in running our front of house, a detective who wants to do some insights work, or a newspaper cartoonist who’s looking for the next creative challenge.

“We don’t mind where your experience comes from, as long as you think you have something to give to our industry.”

The agency is interested in people who could work across creative, account management, office management, finance, media, digital services, illustration, strategy, photography, and more. The streamlined application process asks for over-55s to explain what they can bring to Thinkerbell, what Thinkerbell can bring to them, their life story in 25-words or less, and the weirdest thing about them.

Applications open today, and close on 20 October, at which point shortlisted applicants will go through an interview process. The interns will be based in either the agency’s Sydney or Melbourne offices.

“Oh, and to all you youngsters out there who might feel unfairly treated, don’t worry, we’re always on the look-out for great talent, of all ages – just contact Thinkerbell directly with your enquiries,” the agency added.


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