LONDON: An estimated 25,234 individuals were employed in member agencies of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) in 2016, up 6.6% year-on-year from 23,662 from 2015, the trade body has reported.

The 2016 IPA Agency Census involved an online survey of 229 corporate member agencies between 6th September and 15th December 2016, with 1st September 2016 defined as the census date.

131 member agencies provided full census returns, another 23 provided staffing figures without a full census return, while 75 agencies (33%) did not submit a return.

Based on the results from those agencies that did provide a full response, the IPA has produced a comprehensive breakdown of the employment landscape in the advertising industry.

Among the headline findings, the IPA said the average tenure of permanent employees leaving their agencies during the period under review was just under three years (35.1 months), down from 39.2 months in 2015.

Women accounted for 30.5% executive management positions, down from 33.1% in 2015, and also 25.5% of those at the highest level of seniority (Chair/CEO/MD), down from 27.3%.

Among the increasing number of agencies able to provide ethnic background information, 88% of employees were identified as being from a white background and 12% from a non-white background.

Meanwhile, the average age of employees in all IPA member agencies was 33.7 years, while only 5.9% of the employed base was aged over 50.

Elsewhere, the IPA reported that an estimated 1,727 temps and freelancers were employed by member agencies, down from 2,511 in 2015, while agencies had taken on an estimated 974 first-year trainees and 105 apprentices, who represented 4.2% of staff.

Another employment trend identified in the survey was that an estimated 1,539 individuals, or 6.1% of the employed base, worked for their agencies on a part-time basis, up from 1,423 in 2015.

"These figures provide welcome news that, overall, the industry is in good health. However, as with all these things, the devil is in the detail," said Paul Bainsfair, IPA Director General.

"We have a lot more work to do to encourage greater gender and BAME parity within the industry," he added. "Furthermore, with competition from other industries, it is more important than ever that we are front of mind for those considering their career choices and that we reach and attract as diverse an audience as possible."

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff