CIPD conference in Manchester - Where are the ad agencies?

As I've just received my pass for next month's CIPD conference in Manchester, it brought back a few memories of my first CIPD conference in 1998 in Harrogate as an ad agency rep for VNU.

Having overslept for one reason or another on the first morning and holding the only key to our exhibition stand, I sheepishly arrived at the conference 2 hours late to find my colleagues fuming, unable to set up the stand and waiting for me to turn up. Not a good start and lets not dwell on that!

I remember pretty much every job board operating at the time being there and sparing no expense in the process. Amongst others, I vaguely remember minor-celebs like Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen and Rita from Corrie being used as props – literally just sat at their respective job board stands wearing silly clothes!

The recruitment landscape was a lot different in those days. Media owners had much bigger budgets and could afford to splash out more - even affording to take pretty much their whole sales force, management teams and various others who fancied a bit of a 'jolly' up in lovely Harrogate.

Over the years, marketing budgets have been slashed; many of the job boards that used to exhibit have gone bust and the ones that stayed in business dramatically cut their budgets and stopped taking about 20 people along for the ride. The same goes for ad agencies. I remember Park Human Resources (remember them?) putting on a lavish party every year and numerous others hiring out swanky Harrogate venues to wine and dine clients and their media suppliers.

As the conference moved to my home-town of Manchester a few years ago, I think its still finding its feet and hasn't quite created the same buzz as Harrogate did. Harrogate was a lot smaller, everyone knew where the various parties were and how to gatecrash them and the whole town was taken over by HR, media and ad agency types. As this is (I think) the third year in Manchester, it will be interesting to see how strongly the event it attended. Certainly looking at the exhibitor list, there aren't anywhere near as many job boards attending and only a couple of ad agencies. I'm sure there will be more floating around this great City but exhibiting at the conference doesn’t seem to be high on the agenda!

Although not exhibiting, we will be there so expect a blog after the event. Let the fun commence!

James Swift



  • 25th October 2012
  • Cipd conference in Manchester