No Glass Ceilings at UK Ad Agencies, Reports IPA

26 January 2006

Women continue to comprise around half the workforce of the average ad agency, reveals the 2005 Agency Census published today (Thursday) by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - the official body representing British advertising, media and marketing communications agencies.

Moreover, reports the IPA, 15.1% of female employees play the agency game at the highest level: chair, chief executive and managing director.

Other key findings from the Census are ...

  • The average agency size is up to 65.6 employees (from 64.9).

  • The average size of a media agency has risen to 72.1 employees compared to 68.6 in 2004. The average size of a creative, full-service and other non-media agency has decreased marginally from 63.7 in 2004 to 63.5 in 2005.

  • 75.5% of the employed base is in London and has increased by 637 from 11,259 in 2004 to 11,896 in 2005. The average agency size in London has increased from 82.8 in 2004 to 87.5 individuals in 2005. The average size for out-of London agencies has fallen from 41.4 to 37.6 employees.

  • By agency type 73% (11,424 people in 180 member agencies) are to be found in creative and full-service agencies of which 1,346 individuals are employed in 13 direct marketing agencies, 379 in 11 digital/ interactive agencies and 146 in 6 healthcare agencies. The remaining 27.5% (4,327 employees) are to be found in 60 media agencies.

  • An estimated 21.1% work in account management, 17.8% in media planning or buying, 13% in creative (including digital), 8.5% in creative services (studio, production) and a further 8.5% in finance functions.

  • An estimated 3.1% (481 people) work on a part time basis while an estimated 1.7% (273 people) regularly work from home

  • 2.5% are first year trainees

  • 3.2% are temps or freelancers (40.8% being used by creative departments)

  • The average age is 33.4 with 48.1% of the workforce being under the age of 30, 33.4% aged between 31-40, 13.6% over 40 and 5% over 50. In media agencies the bias towards younger employees is more pronounced with 64.1% aged 30 or under.

  • Women continue to make up approximately half of the agency work force, and at the highest level of seniority (Chair, CEO, MD) account for 15.1%. This figure has risen from 7% in 1998, 11% in 2003 and 14% in 2004. At the broader senior management level female representation is 26.8%.

  • 86 agencies (out of 125) provided information on their ethnicity. 93.2% of employees are of white origin, 2.4% Asian, 2.4% black, 1% mixed origin and 1.1% from other backgrounds. This 'non white' figure of 6.8% compares to 5.1% in 2004 (92 agencies) and 6.2% in 2003 (88 agencies).
Comments IPA membership director John Oldfield: "The growth of the employment base was driven by the buoyancy in the media and digital sectors which reflects the increase in specialist agencies and diversification in the IPA membership."

To download the full census click here.

Data sourced from Institute of Practitioners in Advertising; additional content by WARC staff