Poll results: Adland agrees there is a talent shortage decades in the making

Results from a Mumbrella poll on Monday asking “Is adland in the midst of a deep talent shortage that has been many years in the making?” has resulted in an overwhelming 82.75% of respondents agreeing that it is.

The poll gathered 109 responses including 27 comments and has been running since Monday morning after a significant response to the previous Saturday Best of the Week email discussing the topic.

Click to enlarge

Of the other results, 11.01% said they were unsure, 2.75% said there was no talent shortage, this was just a pandemic or short-term issue, and 3.67% wondered what I was on about as they had no idea of any talent shortage or talk of a talent shortage.

This week Mumbrella published two other stories discussing the current talent challenges. The IAB released new data on the subject, while Pedestrian Group CEO Matt Rowley suggested there will be more change to come soon as a result of what is being called The Great Resignation.

Poll comments were anonymous. Some have been included below:

Response: As a senior marketer on the brand/client side, I have actually applied for roles on the agency side to no avail. I have received no reply, not one first round interview, no interest – so from where I sit; the advertising industry is possibly only interested in hiring from within the ad industry and not exploring talent with transferable skills. There is not a talent shortage, the recruitment process could potentially need some new creative thinking.

Response: No shortage. Just good creative talent doesn’t want to be paid peanut salaries for global agencies that brag about how financially strong they are and earnings – the only people talking about this shortage are those agencies. Good luck to them.

Response: The current talent shortage in the Australian market is multifaceted. Of course, Covid was the catalyst and a primary reason behind the international talent pool drying up. However, there is also the underlying problem that the media agency world (I can’t speak for advertising or marketing side) is not an attractive industry for uni students.

If a uni student happens to fall into the industry, as they often do, they are overworked and underpaid from day one. Graduates starting on $40-50K is pushing the more ambitious students elsewhere – into grad programs that are higher paying or client side roles – leaving a lot to be desired from those who do enter the industry.

This is the foundation for the majority of the young talent in the industry and when you provide them with the opportunity for self-reflection (i.e. a pandemic) combined with labour shortages in other industries, many have and will continue to take the opportunity to explore something they actually like or something that will pay better.

Response: Employers pushed their staff to breaking point, and the pandemic made us stop and re-evaluate our careers – do we really want to be working 12hrs a day for what is an industry that lowballs their workers’ pay… The removal of what we considered as part of our packages – ‘parties, tickets, events’ – left us realising how little we are valued.

Response: For many years adland has been cutting prices in a race to the bottom (with a few exceptions – and this is not a phenomenon exclusive to marketing). I have read many articles about changing culture, how do we help our employees etc etc. This is the first article to even touch on what is the foundation for keeping employees where you have stated that companies also need to give employees TIME for training. If we are able to give employees (at all levels) an appropriate workload so that they can do their job properly and enjoy it (not stressing at midnight due to too many deadlines), many issues would be solved.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.