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Ad agencies suffer talent loss

News, 19 April 2016

MIAMI, FL: Advertising agencies recorded a global net talent loss of 25% in 2015, according to figures from LinkedIn, the business-focused social network.

Jann Martin Schwarz, LinkedIn's Global Director/Agency Holding Companies, discussed this subject at the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) Transformation 2016 conference.

More specifically, it was revealed that staff turnover at advertising agencies had witnessed a 10% year-on-year increase versus competitive industries.

"There is a new increase to the rate of turnover within the agency world," Schwarz said. (For more, including advice for agencies in retaining staff, read Warc's exclusive report: Why the advertising-agency business is bleeding talent.)

And that development, he further reported, is "essentially the equivalent of a trade deficit, where the industry's losing talent to other industries."

One significant driver behind that trend is the growing competition for talent from sources such as tech and media companies, management consultancies and even client-side marketers taking certain capabilities in-house.

That overlap is most directly demonstrated by the rise of IBM's iX, which has rapidly expanded into a major agency, and The Zoo, an "agency-like" unit within Google.

Alongside offering a range of highly attractive perks and higher starting salaries, tech companies offer useful guidance to agencies as they have generally built strong employer brands.

"When you take a branding-and-marketing approach to talent, the results are phenomenal," Schwarz suggested to the 4A's assembly.

Such efforts, he continued, also meet the typical agency requirement of being able to prove out the return on investment that is ultimately delivered.

"What's interesting about this [is] in the talent world, you can tell exactly how many people you hire because of branding activities," said Schwarz.

"We can tell exactly how much longer these people are staying in the company. And we can actually put a dollar amount on how much money you're saving by attracting a higher quality candidate."

Data sourced from Warc