Survey Reveals Anti-Agency Views

It seems staff morale at ad agencies has seen better days. At least that’s what a survey on job satisfaction among ad industry professionals suggests, given a majority of respondents would prefer to not work at an agency.

The online survey, conducted by Advertising Women of New York and Harris Interactive from May 25 to Oct. 28, 2005, included 628 women and 474 men who work full-time in advertising. Respondents were culled from those “broadly engaged” with various aspects of advertising on the client side, in ad sales, media companies and consulting as well, the survey said.

Of those who work inside agencies, 39 percent of women said they would prefer to work outside that environment, while 33 percent of men called agency life their “ideal” work setting. Seventy-eight percent of female respondents who do not work in agencies said they would not like to start, while 69 percent of non-agency men answered similarly.

AWNY president Carol Evans said the results should awaken agencies to more effectively confront issues of recruitment and retention.

“Agencies pull from the same applicant base as publishing companies and clients,” Evans said. “Ad agencies need to do some PR. The cliché used to be the sexy, glamorous, cigarette-smoking adman and adwoman. Now it’s the harried adman and adwoman.”

Job satisfaction in advertising-related jobs was in step with the national average, the survey showed, but men ranked job satisfaction higher than women.

The survey results also showed that men still make an average of $16,000 more per annum than women in advertising-related jobs, but that the earning gap was nearly erased among male and female executives who have company-wide P&L responsibilities.

Still, nearly half of male and female respondents gave the top two reasons for staying in the business (despite citing compensation dissatisfaction) as being “good at it,” and loving the work.