Agency staff numbers fall slightly for first time in nine years

Agency staff numbers: media agency employees on the up
Agency staff numbers: media agency employees on the up

Media agency staff numbers rise, while creative agency employee base drops.

Staff numbers at agencies has fallen, albeit marginally, for the first time since 2009, falling by 0.6% year on year to 25,142 employees at IPA member agencies.

The trade body’s latest Agency Census has revealed that media agencies continue to grow in terms of staff numbers, with an additional 700 employees, or a rise of 7.1%, to 10,985 in 2018.

However, it’s a bleaker picture at creative shops and other non-media agencies, where staff levels have fallen by almost 900 – a drop of 5.1% – to 14,157.

Staff turnover has remained static, down slightly by 1.9 percentage points to 30%. The amount of redundancies has risen by 0.6 percentage points to 9.6% at creative and other non-media agencies, and by 0.4 percentage points to 2.5% at media agencies.

The research found that there has been a rise (of 8.5%) in the number of people working part-time or reduced hours to 1,634. The majority of these continue to be women, accounting for 86.8%.

Meanwhile, the average age of employees remained constant at 33.9. Of the total number of employees, 6.2% are aged 50 or over.

The report includes the levels of diversity across the industry, although this was initially published in January.

Roger Ingham, author of the 2018 Agency Census, said: "The results of this year’s IPA Agency Census reflect the broader national economic uncertainty over the last few years. Marketing budgets have been tightening for some time, albeit with the exception of this quarter, and therefore it is unsurprising to see the industry in a state of stasis. It is also interesting to see the continued growth of media agencies, reflecting an industry trend that we have seen for a number of years."

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