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Many people in advertising are looking to leave the industry, according to a new report.
The advertising industry is facing a retention problem as a survey shows nearly two thirds of talent has been for an interview in a different sector in the last year and most intend to stay in the industry for only five years, according to a new survey.
The survey by advertising agency Impero found the nature of the work they were doing and a culture which is not diverse were the main reasons given.
Twenty-four per cent of respondents said the work they were doing was not creative enough – indeed this was the top reason given for choosing a career in the industry in the first place.
However, 23% said “we need a fairer culture that is more reflective of the outside world” and 21% chose “we are trying to squeeze more and more work in for the same amount of money and people are working far too many hours.”
For its ‘Rebranding Advertising’ report, which is based on a survey of 1,500 consumers, 100 marketers and 100 advertising practitioners across the UK, Impero also asked industry talent to anonymously share their views on issues including sexism, burnout, whether working in advertising affects people’s mental health and diversity in the industry.
Advertising’s relationship with mental health was the most pressing of these issues, according to those surveyed, with 38% of respondents saying they have known someone who has faced mental health problems as a result of working in the industry and 35% saying they have experienced mental health problems themselves.
Moreover, 36% of industry talent said they know someone who has been on the receiving end of sexist behaviour.
However, 25% of talent said sexism in advertising has changed for the better since they started working in advertising – and 21% said they have heard about sexist stories in the industry, but never in their agency.
Some 25% of respondents cited burnout as a problem, saying advertising burns people out faster than most industries – however 26% said that, although the industry does have a burnout problem, it is no worse than most fast-paced, high-octane industries.
When asked about the lack of diversity in the industry, the majority of respondents (48%) said their agency culture is slowly changing to more accurately reflect the outside world. While 31% said their agency already does accurately reflect society, 13% said their agency “talks a good game, but in reality nothing is changing”. Eight per cent said their agency culture does not accurately reflect the outside world and five out of this eight per cent responded that this lack of diversity “gets them down”.
When asked how long they intended to stay in advertising, only 23% responded “15 years or longer”. 31% responded “5-15 years” and 9% responded “0-2 years”, with the majority (37%) responding “2 to 5 years”.
Michael Scantlebury, founder and creative director of Impero, said: “In order to avoid a brain drain of the best talent to other, sexier industries like tech, we need to drastically increase our focus on making great work people care about. We need to make funny work, effective work, work that really reaches people, rather than getting lost in a programmatic bubble.
“When it comes to sexism and diversity – I think it’s frankly embarrassing that these issues still exist in such a supposedly progressive, open-minded industry: but it’s indicative of an old white boys’ club that has seen its day, and it’s good to see these issues are on the decline.
“Alongside making great work, protecting employees from developing mental health problems should be top of the agenda for agency bosses over the coming months. Reduce stress, improve the quality of the work we’re giving people – and hopefully the future of the industry looks brighter.”