Study: Personal Job Growth, Ownership Keys to Keeping Talent at Ad Agencies

Deutsch LA surveyed 1,500 advertising professionals, including several thinkLA members, to find out why people leave agencies at such a high rate.

Advertising agency Deutsch LA, in conjunction with 4A’s, conducted a survey to help explain the high turnover rate advertising agencies typically experience. Their results were released this week at the Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France.

According to their report, Ending the Agency Talent Rotisserie, big agencies should take care to create the “small agency” feel to help retain their talent and keep their employees happy. A large number of respondents said they left their previous postings for greener pastures: 52% left for an opportunity for job growth.

Ownership in their work was cited as an important characteristic of the “ideal job,” with job growth again taking precedence for 70% of participants.

Rebels in Our Midsts, and Frenemies at the Gates
According to the report, the vast majority of ad professionals tend to see themselves as creative, extroverted rule-breakers, when compared to other industries. This points to a strong  entrepreneurial spirit that should be fostered, lest the agency risk losing that creative talent.

And that risk isn’t limited to just other ad agencies: When asked what the most creative non-agency they could think of, 54% of respondents picked one of two technology giants, Apple and Google, companies that aren’t only clients but are now potential competitors for talent.  65% also stated that the most creative person they knew was not in advertising.

Add in the fact that 25% of respondents don’t love working in the ad industry, with a full half feeling that they would fit in fine in another industry, and one can see the need for agencies to find ways to keep their talent engaged and invested.

5 Tips from Deutsch LA to Keep People Happy

  1. Less Fortune 500, more startup. Many agencies are part of large corporations, but they can’t afford to act like them. Agencies need to manage their holding company relationships in a way that gives managers control to respond, react, and support employees. Give people within your agency the ability to run their businesses like their own small companies.
  2. Invest in an R & D budget. Bring in people and projects that don’t focus strictly on the bottom line. Agencies now have the resources to build things like apps—so build them for yourselves.
  3. Work in smaller teams. Work in lean, flat structures that give everyone participating control of the process and recognition for the outcomes.
  4. Create radical learning opportunities. Success in advertising sometimes.
  5.  mean you get locked into a particular account or role where you’ve excelled. So aggressively give people the chance to learn other parts of the business, through agency cross-training.
  6. Keep entrepreneurship in-house. Creative people want to stretch, so support their side projects, whether it’s making a movie or starting a nonprofit. Give them time and resources to do these things, and celebrate their successes.

But don’t take our word for it…
See what others are saying about this report:

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