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The Joe Public team at the Financial Mail AdFocus Awards 2021. Picture: Supplied
The Joe Public team at the Financial Mail AdFocus Awards 2021. Picture: Supplied

The Scopen Best Agency to Work for SA 2021-2022 offers a view of the breakdown of the 156 creative agency members and 50 members from media agencies. While there’s very little between the ages and number of years in their sectors, some of the key factors that determine who would move agencies and why set them quite far apart.

Personality – or job - traits show up in response to whether flexibility and work from home opportunities would be a factor in changing jobs. Just 7.1% of creatives against 16% of media people see this as important. From an IAS perspective, this is interesting because previous research has shown that creatives thrive in a lively office environment, whereas media specialists are happy working quietly and even alone.

Areas that would entice more creative agency professionals to make a move are company culture, the challenge of the job and work-life balance. They’re a work-hard, play-hard group for whom pride in their work and the value placed on their company by the industry is somewhat more important than for media agency employees.

The latter, however, score credibility – notably, how they perceive their bosses or company leaders – a fairly hefty 32%, while their creative agency counterparts score this just 21.9%.

The only certainty

The old adage holds true that change is the only certainty in life. When probing the predisposition to change, 14.2% of creative agency people and 20% of media agency personnel are thinking of moving to another agency. A reasonably high 36.1% of creatives said they would “definitely not change”, while 42% of media staffers noted that they would “probably not change”.

Where would those who felt the urge to move on be most likely to go? To a client-advertiser, said 36.4% of creatives; while 30% of media shifters would do the same – but 30% of this group said they’d join an agency. Note here that just 9.1% of creatives quizzed would join a start-up, while 20% of media people would be keen. None of the latter would be looking to become a business consultant, where 13.6% of their creative counterparts would.

Overall, when a professional considers changing their job, the key criteria among the largest sector (31.6%) is salary driven, followed by the hunt for opportunities for professional growth (25.2%).

And the winners are …

Having looked at the “how” of the Scopen study, when we asked the question of respondents, “If you were to move to a new position in another agency, which are the three agencies to whom you would be most attracted?” we come to the top three agencies. 

Overall creative agencies of choice are Joe Public – by a fairly good margin – followed by TBWA very narrowly pipping Ogilvy at the post. King James and M&C Saatchi Abel are fourth and fifth respectively.

The picture is slightly different when network agencies are split from the independents, with TBWA coming first among the network agencies followed by Ogilvy and King James. Among the independent creative agencies, Joe Public is obviously the winner, with The Odd Number and Promise Group in second and third place respectively.

First place in the media agency sector is The Media Shop, with Wavemaker not too far behind and Mediacom coming in third. The network media agencies dominate this particular study.

Pointing out that this is the first time the study has been done in SA, César Vacchiano, co-founder and global CEO of Scopen, says: “These are interesting results for SA. Results could well have been influenced by the pandemic given that SA was in the depths of the third wave when we conducted this research. It will be interesting to see how much has changed when we repeat the study later this year.”

Johanna McDowell is the CEO of the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company (IAS) and Scopen partner

The big take-out:

Joe Public is the best creative agency to work for, followed by TBWA and Ogilvy. The Media Shop is the best media agency to work for, followed by Wavemaker and Mediacom.


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