New LinkedIn and 4A’s Research Shows Current Talent Trends for Advertising Agencies

March 22, 2016

Today at the 4A’s Transformation 2016 conference in Miami Beach, Jann Schwarz, Linkedin’s Global Director, Agency Holding Companies, unveiled new research that examines what advertising agencies can do to attract and retain top talent. LinkedIn conducted the research in conjunction with the 4A’s.

Schwarz’s presentation, titled “Why Agencies Need to Act Now: Current Talent Trends for Advertising Agencies,” was part of a Transformation conference panel called, “The Truth About Talent.”

Schwarz identified some of the key challenges facing the advertising agency sector in attracting talent:

  • 96 percent of industry professionals say they can find a job easily, which means there’s a perception that the ad agency talent market is extremely liquid.
  • The average first year agency salary is $45,000 less than in the technology sector.
  • The rate of turnover at agencies increased 10 percent compared with compettive industries, year over year.
  • There was a 25 percent net talent loss at ad agencies globally compared with competitive industries in 2015.

The top three reasons that employees gave for leaving advertising agency industry were:

  • Concerned about lack of opportunities for advancement (54 percent)
  • Wanted more challenging work (50 percent)
  • Unsatisfied with the level of senior management (46 percent)

Schwarz acknowledged that the research indicated that ad agencies “have an uphill battle when it comes to perception.” Among nine industries (including ad agencies) that compete directly for the same talent, ad agencies ranked last when it came to perceptions of its “work/life balance” and “long-term strategic vision.” The agency sector ranked next-to-last in “compensation and benefits,” “strong career path,” “job security,” and “values employee contributions.”

The area where agencies showed the most promise was “culture that fits my personality.” Agencies placed fourth in that category of employee perception. Schwarz recommended that the agency world emphasize this aspect in communicating its Talent Brand to potential employees.

“In order to attract and retain the best talent, agencies must begin addressing these issues through building their Talent Brand,” Schwarz said. “Talent Brand is what we call the public and social face that reflects what professionals think, feel, and share about the company as a place to work. The research shows that professionals in the advertising industry are looking for more than just money to keep them at a company. The solution to filling this gap is for agencies to focus on telling the story of their culture and purpose, showcasing their Talent Brand in a compelling way that offers sustainable differentiation.”

The implications of the research were discussed by a panel of industry experts: Jon Cook, Global CEO, VML; Marie-Claire Barker, Global Chief Talent Officer, MEC; and Jill Kelly, Chief Communications Officer, DigitasLBi. Abbey Klaassen, CMO of 360i, moderated the panel.

You can view the full talent survey here. To keep pace with future LinkedIn research as well as daily discussion of the topics impacting the advertising and marketing world, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog today!