It’s a talent market in adland. Time to move?

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Kirsty Tavae, managing director and co-founder of TKR Group, a recruitment agency specialising in placing talent in the advertising industry.

For those that are unaware, we are in one of the biggest candidate short markets we have experienced as recruiters and talent acquisitions in many, many, many years.

Just to provide some context: in 2019, you were able to post a role for an account manager or senior account manager and not have time to filter through the countless applications that came through and be responding at night with getting interviews locked in or sending rejection emails.

Fast forward to today, post lockdown & redundancies, and the flexible work-life culture agencies have adapted to. We are now in one of the hardest sourcing markets in Adland securing top talent for open vacancies because everyone has gotten comfortable even if they are unhappy or unfulfilled in their current role.

Salaries have inflated hugely to secure talent or even to retain talent during counter. It has placed the talent drought on a new level of desperately trying to ensure that the head count needed to maintain the new workplace and clients coming back to market, very, very hard.

Stuart Black, Group CEO of Ward6 and McCann Health says, “It has never been harder to source talent, particularly in account service. And that extends from the most junior to the most senior roles. If, as an agency, you are lucky enough to win new business, that can present a serious resourcing challenge. We are offering more flexibility, more training, and greater benefits than ever before to candidates, so, if you’re not happy with your current employer, now might be the time to have a chat.”

Grace Dong, Talent Acquisitions at DDB says, “It’s one thing to take on a job for the title or salary, another entirely to make the best career choice. At DDB Group, we’re grappling with the market’s competitiveness by focusing on how we make our agency the best and most supportive. We want to attract the right people and keep them here.

Our hiring benchmark – ‘talented and nice’ – really resonates, and our people, leaders, and clients are some of the best in the industry, not just locally but worldwide. We constantly review our policies, we’ve recently changed our core hours to 10am-3pm, and we know that flexibility is at the top of people’s priorities list.

We also want to be challenged – we’re a creative business, so solving problems creatively is more important than meeting every single criteria in a job ad. We’re hiring now and always on the look-out, so get in touch.”

Brenden Fing, Talent Acquisitions from M&C has said, “Because of what the world has experienced in the past two years, agency life has changed forever.

We’ve seen a flourishing recruitment market become a battle ground due to the vast amount of choice on offer, particularly in account service. For us, at M&C Saatchi, we’ve recognised that to cut through the noise, you need to look internally and consider how you can not only provide great career opportunities, but enrich the lives of your current and potential employees. We’re malleable in our approach to employee experience, policies and training opportunities.

Importantly, it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Whilst as a business we roll as one – flexibility and creativity are key when it comes to engaging top talent.”

Sharon Adams, Director of Digital Operations at CHEP says, “The last few years have clearly forced us all to reconsider what’s important, and that’s coming through in what we’re seeing in the talent market. Importantly, it’s forced agencies to re-align to meet those new expectations. At CHEP, we took a lot of time to understand what our people were looking for in the workplace, and are continually striving to better our business to ensure our people have everything they need to grow.

“We do that by focusing on creating an environment that has flexibility at its core, where our people can learn faster, create meaningful work that drives results and by truly understanding the new economy and the role that creativity has to play in it. If you’re looking for an environment where you can bring your whole self to work, learn more than ever before and create brilliant work, drop us a line.”

Yay Xavian, Head of People and Culture at Hello Social says, “Agencies have felt the shift from interviewing to being interviewed, and we are all in the same race for great talent. The industry has had to pivot to compete with not only other agencies, but we are seeing more candidates taking the opportunity to change the direction of their career entirely.

In order to prevent the burnout of our teams, ensure new people are on boarded well, and sufficiently service clients, it is vital for agencies to be well resourced.

P&C functions have had to really lean into their EVP’s at this time, speaking to their teams and filling in the gaps to ensure we are putting our best offers on the table to attract the right talent.”

So, the good news. Now is the time to be in market. Even passively. Have a look at the agencies that have inspired you over the years and see if they are looking for a person that has your skillset.

Are you thinking about your next career move? Now is the time to refresh your CV, update your LinkedIn and see who is doing what now.