IPA census: creative agencies contract while media expands

If proof were needed that ad agency staff are more stretched than ever, the IPA’s latest census is here with the numbers.

There are fewer people working at IPA agencies than there were a year ago, and the drop in staff numbers has been at the expense of creative agencies, who have cut their numbers by nearly 900 over the last year.

Media agencies, meanwhile, are in the ascendant: they now make up 43.7 per cent of staff at IPA agencies, up from 40.6 per cent in 2017, and 35.9 per cent in 2014. The number of employees in media agencies grew more than 700 to 10,985.

Creative agencies, however, are in long-term decline – in terms of staff numbers at least. They now make up 56.3 per cent of IPA agency staff, down from 59.4 per cent in 2017, and 64.1 per cent in 2014.

After a dip last year, the number of women in c-suite roles is up slightly to 32.7 per cent, but traditional gender divides are still evident. Part time workers are up, at 6.5 per cent, although 87 per cent of these are women. Similarly, women take up 83 per cent of HR and training positions, while men make up 86 per cent of digital programmers and developers.

BAME employees are on the rise, reaching 13.8 per cent of the workforce (up from 12.9 per cent last year), but only 5.5 per cent of c-suite roles are occupied by someone from a non-white background.

Nigel Vaz, who will launch his new IPA president’s manifesto next week, said: “This survey continues to be a barometer for the health of our business and highlights useful trend data. We are a people business and I look forward to working with the IPA on its initiatives to continue to improve diversity across the board within our industry.”

Things are not looking so healthy at the junior end of the scale, either. There was a slight decrease in the number of first-year trainees and apprentices (from 1,021 to 1,009) but an increase at the cheaper intern level (up to 206 from 193 last year). Freelancers are also feeling the pinch, with numbers down to 1,574, from 1,721 in 2017.

For the first time, the IPA asked questions about disability, and found that 11.3 per cent have a registered disability.

The average age in the industry is 33.9 years, and the over 50s take just 6.3 per cent of the roles, with the under 30s on 45.6 per cent.

You May Also Like

About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

One comment

  1. Avatar

    This is the paradox of ‘digital efficiency’. It takes more people to distribute the same investment in media agencies