Media agencies score well on workplace conditions in bid to improve staff retention

BRWSix media agencies have made it into the list of the top 50 large and small companies to work for in Australia as the industry looks at ways of improving staff retention.

UM tops the media agency pile, rising 11 spots on last year to come in fourth in the over 100 employees ranking of the BRW list, with OMD 21st,  whilst independent Match Media is 20th on the small company table.

GroupM was the most successful holding group with new entrant Maxus fourth spot in the new category of workplaces under 100 people, whilst sister agencies MediaCom (15th) and Mindshare (17th) are both in the companies over 100 employees.

Maxus’ CEO Jon Chadwick said the strong showing from the media agency sector was a sign they are taking the high churn rate in the industry seriously. “We have got high churn rate in the industry, so agencies are realising they have to be competitive in the market place,” he said.

“But we’re not just competing against other agencies, there are also tech startups, who are well represented in this list, looking at the same talent so it’s a really competitive marketplace.”

Jonathan Chadwick


According to a recent Media Federation of Australia (MFA) survey agency churn was at 33.5 per cent last year, up from 30 per cent the year before.

Low salaries are one reason given for the continual talent merry-go-round in agency circles, but Chadwick said he felt agencies were “competitive” in what they pay, adding: “What we offer is a career path, so in addition to the salary, training and travel opportunities, as well as services through the MFA, which definitely helps us focus on things other than money.”

“Awards like this definitely help with staff retention and recruitment,” Chadwick added.

In terms of staff numbers UM has 120, Mediacom 309, Mindshare 164, OMD 437, Maxus 66 and Match 52.

There were 137 companies vying for places in the two top 25 lists, while according to the BRW release female dominated workplaces were over-indexed in the final list, citing Mindshare and OMD as two companies had “management teams dominated by women executives”.

Caitlin Fitzsimmons, BRW deputy editor said: “An interesting shift in the BRW Best Places to Work list this year has been the inclusion of more female-friendly workplaces. Australia’s best workplaces are also more likely to have a woman as CEO than the ASX100 and 13 of the 50 had women making up more than half the senior management team. Gender aside, the workplaces that staff love the most have common qualities: bosses dedicated to empowering, training and valuing employees.”

Marketing services and sales lead company Saleforce is one place above UM, with Adobe 14th. In the small company list email service Campaign Monitor is sixth, Amobee is in seventh and direct marketing company Zinc is ninth, ahead of E-Web Marketing, cloud services Rackspace, while the The Web Showroom was 22nd.

Mat Baxter, CEO of UM Australia praised his management team for building “a simply amazing company culture”, whilst MediaCom’s CEO, Mark Pejic said: “We are so pleased to see our efforts recognised through a huge achievement of 15th place in BRW’s study. Our people are pivotal in MediaCom’s success and we are thrilled that this achievement is a reflection of how they feel about working at MediaCom in comparison to other businesses.”

Alex Hayes


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