Agencies and media owners in battle to hire mid-level staff

Media agencies have an unprecedented number of job vacancies and are having to fight with media owners to recruit junior to mid-level staff.

Media agencies have an unprecedented number of job vacancies and

are having to fight with media owners to recruit junior to mid-level


According to figures released by recruitment consultancy The Davis

Company, the number of vacancies at media agencies is up 11 per cent on

last year.

Davis Company consultant Louise Foers said one of the reasons for the

shortfall in agency staff is the increasingly attractive packages

offered by media owners.

’There has been a well documented exodus from many of the traditional

agencies to new-media operations,’ said Foers, ’but moves from agencies

to media owners have been very popular too.’

Steve Hyde, formerly managing director of Zenith and now head of the

media division at Hamblyn Recruitment, agreed. ’It is inevitable there

will be more movement from agency to owner as there is no longer such

demarcation between the two, due to bigger developments.’

He also claimed some of the larger agencies were experiencing staff

shortages because they failed to respond quickly enough to media

fragmentation, which has fuelled the need for more planners and


Senior personnel have led the way in recent months, with directors like

Dave King quitting Carat for Emap On Air and Linda Smith moving from

MediaVest to Capital.

An increasing number of staff with only two to five years’ experience

are also moving from agency to owner. Observers say this trend is making

life hard for agencies.

Frank Lyons, media director at AMS, said he was trying to hire up to ten

people to cope with a recent increase in business. He said staff with

between two and five years’ experience were ’being chased by


Neil Pummell, who recently moved from his position as a buyer at

MediaCom into a sales role at Metro Networks, said: ’Sales seemed more

interesting, less frustrating and easier to climb the ladder.’

However, according to Foers, agencies are fighting back. She said they

have made themselves more attractive by involving staff in loyalty and

share schemes. She added that the whole industry would need to invest

more in training to increase the number of good quality candidates and

resolve the overall skills shortage.


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