5 reasons why your marketing agency should ‘grow your own’ agency talent

Andy Baker
6 min readFeb 22, 2023
Six Gen Z employees standing around a laptop and working together

Can’t find the talent?

You’re not the only one.

According to research from WFA and global media advisors, MediaSense, almost half (48%) of all advertisers, agencies, ad tech companies and media owners think the industry is facing its “worst-ever crisis” when it comes to talent.

So what’s going on?

Well, one simple answer is: the market is more competitive than ever. We’ve talked about how vacancies are at a record high before and this in itself is making it increasingly difficult for agency adverts to stand out.

On top of that, the best mid-level talent is often being paid well, on a clear progression path and already doing what they love.

What does this all add up to? Expense.

Today’s top talent needs a lucrative offer to jump ship. And if headhunting passive talent wasn’t pricey enough, it’s even more expensive in a cost-of-living crisis. That’s because it’s now being reported that 30% of current job seekers are finding employers’ salary offerings just won’t cover today’s outgoings.

But whether you’re a media agency in need of a pipeline of prospects or a creative outfit that’s won an exciting piece of work, there is a long-term solution: start to grow your own agency talent.

Here are five reasons it’s time to develop your own team of pros.

1. Cost-effective creativity

The agency world is one where creativity is currency. And there’s no more forward-thinking group than Gen Z. Research suggests that 56% of Gen Z consider themselves creative compared to 44% of millennials. And with this mindset comes a wealth of possibilities to think creatively and innovate. Importantly, hiring this group of digital natives is much more cost-effective than headhunting mid-level talent. Whilst we’re strong advocates for paying graduates fairly, there’s no denying that recruiting from this pool is far cheaper than trying to entice established agency employees.

For example, the current national average salary for a Mid-Level Designer is £38,129; an entry-level Junior Graphic Designer (with less than 1 year of experience) pays around £19,184.

But salary expectations that won’t break the bank are not the only thing grads are free of.

2. No baggage or bad habits

When working at the same agency for a while, you learn how to do things in a certain way — agency processes are drilled into you — it’s inevitable.

And it makes sense, really.

Agencies are experts in brand and understand the power of consistency and character building. Consequently, they pride themselves on having their own unique value sets that flow through every aspect of the business. But whether it’s the process of pulling together lofty pitch decks or living and breathing comprehensive brand guidelines, this stuff can be hard to shake.

This isn’t an issue with less experienced talent.

Despite having all the skills they need to competently carry out their roles, you can easily mould them into the right fit for your agency.

Whether it’s the PTSD that comes from working unrealistic hours of overtime to get proposals over the line or the little perks like the fact they had office ping pong, none of this matters to first-time jobbers. When you grow your own talent there are no legacy ways of working — and no lofty expectations.

And by getting everyone singing from the same hymn sheet from the start, you’ll foster a happier and more productive agency culture in the process.

3. Create your culture-fit

Remote and hybrid working has changed workplace culture forever.

When there are no pool tables or pour-your-own-pints to paper over the cracks — not to mention The Great Resignation showing no signs of quitting — agencies are having to reassess everything they thought they knew about culture.

This is much less of a concern for entry-level professionals. A lot of Gen Z workers, in particular, might never have known what a traditional 9–5 working week at an agency looks like.

So whether you’re introducing them to team playlists via JQBX to Spotify Group Session or helping first time-jobbers avoid imposter syndrome and actually celebrate their mistakes; Spotify teams actually have regular ‘ Fail-fikas ‘ to grab a coffee, jump online and share their missteps together; you can create a killer workplace culture that’s new to them — and entirely your own.

Simply put: create the right culture at your agency and reap the rewards.

4. There’s no “comfort zone”

Research suggests that opportunities to learn and grow are crucial for Gen Z when eyeing up roles.

Essentially, this group has no interest in staying still; something that’s ideal for the frenetic pace of agency life.

Whether it’s brand ideation or campaign creation, the agency world is often about mucking in to get things over the line. And in this chaotic world of creative plate spinning, long-term success is often about whether you sink or swim under the pressure.

Well, research suggests that Gen Z are more than ready for the challenge. According to research discussed in a podcast with David and Jonah Stillman, 75% of Gen Zers would be interested in a situation in which they could have multiple roles within one job — ideal for agency life. This is supported by a survey from Psychology Today which revealed that 97% of Gen Z respondents prefer to have job opportunities outside of what they were originally hired for.

Essentially, the “comfort zone” doesn’t exist for Zoomers and there’s no staying in their lanes. In fact, what first-time jobbers might be missing in soft skills, they more than make up for with an insatiable appetite to learn and lead. So save money on headhunting and invest in training Gen Z instead. It’ll pay off over time, we promise.

5. More loyalty and retention

How loyal can headhunted talent be if they were poached in the first place, right? 🤔

The difference with Gen Z grads is that you can foster a sense of belonging from day one. And there’s plenty of research to suggest that doing so has a variety of benefits. When employees experience a sense of belonging in the workplace, they are:

  • 9 times more likely to believe people are treated fairly — regardless of their race.
  • 3 times more likely to look forward to coming to work
  • 3 times more likely to say their workplace is fun

Importantly, feeling safe, supported and a part of something bigger helps foster ideas. And of the 52% of Gen Zs who feel empowered to drive change within their organisation, 89% say they feel a sense of belonging.

Create a sense of belonging and a legion of brand loyalists awaits.

Sound like hyperbole? Trust us, it isn’t.

Research indicates that over half (61%) of Gen Zers could see themselves staying loyal to one place of employment for ten years or longer. And that kind of long-term ROI clearly blows the cost of onboarding and training out of the water.

The good thing is, there’s a lot of talent out there — and you don’t have to go it alone.

We “get” agency talent

At DigitalGrads, we have a talent manager who’s worked at some of the world’s leading agencies. Your dedicated expert, Kasia Gibbs, has over 15 years of experience and knows the agency world inside out. Her resume includes working as a planning coordinator at Leo Burnett and as an in-house recruiter for BrandWatch.

Importantly, Kasia’s team will take care of all the admin, talent screening and interview booking so you can spend more time on the important stuff. You know, like cooking up creative and getting that pitch across the line. That means you can feel relaxed and reassured that, whatever your media or marketing priorities are, we’ve got the prospects covered.

Don’t take our word for it, though.

“The high-pressure world of marketing and advertising isn’t for everyone so we need to be rigorous in our approach to recruitment. DigitalGrads are consistently savvy and determined to match the right candidates to our needs,”
said Simon Rutherford, Marketing Director at
Cubaka.

Ready to grow your own talent? Find out more about our innovative entry-level recruitment solution for agencies here. Alternatively, get in touch for a chat at 020 3951 8891 or employers@digitalgrads.com. We’d love to hear from you.

Originally published at https://employers.digitalgrads.com on February 22, 2023.

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Andy Baker

Friendly neighbourhood copy chameleon. Whatever the tone, I’ve got you.