Mumbrella State of the Industry survey

Cast your mind back, if you will, to the utopian landscape of 2018. 

It was a sepia-toned time, when a company’s entire workforce would be gathered within the one office, all there during the same period of set hours and days prescribed by a motor car maker one hundred years ago, all interacting in person. 

Zoom was a feature mostly used by bad student film-makers, while masks were for ice hockey players. The economy was strong enough, bushfires were rare enough, royal weddings were all the rage, and we all gleefully filled out the Mumbrella State of the Industry Report 2018. 


There was optimism in the air. 80% of us felt the future of the marketing industry would be exciting. 46.3% described ourselves as ‘carefree’, a word that doesn’t exactly capture the mood of 2023. 

Then again, none of us knew what was just around the corner.

Cost of living wasn’t a huge concern back in those carefree, joyful days. Just 20.6% of us felt we weren’t being paid fairly for our work. That’s a pretty financially satisfied industry. (Either that, or a lot of people were just half-arsing their jobs, and felt the low pay was justified. But it’s probably not that.) 

In 2018, artificial intelligence was a pie in the sky idea – a sci-fi ‘what-if’ to be filed alongside time travel and holograms and donut-flavoured Twisties. Just 20.5% of us saw it as a threat to our jobs in the next ten years, landing behind ‘the decline of traditional media’, and ‘automation’. 

There was a lot we couldn’t foresee.

One of the questions was: “Thinking about the media and marketing industry, what is the one thing you think we should be addressing most urgently?​”

Measurability was the most urgent, transparency second, and workplace equity third. Elsewhere, career opportunities, media ownership, accountability, and workplace discrimination were of varying levels of urgency.

Sustainability was nowhere to be seen. It wasn’t even ​part of the discussion.

And just 39.8% felt their organisation actively looked after their mental health. Like sustainability, it simply wasn’t on the workplace radar yet.

Just imagine if the same survey was conducted today…

The anxiety of the pandemic and the worsening climate has shone a light on mental health. 

Working from home allowed many of us to redress the balance between our work and the rest of our lives, and the empathy generated by a universal, shared experience has spilled over into workplace reforms – where mental health is of utmost importance.

And by the way, looking after mental health doesn’t mean providing an office ‘chill zone’ with a table tennis table and a pair of kidney-shaped lounges. Or maybe it does? Our recent series of the best adland work perks certainly suggests such things are important now. But back in 2018, this wasn’t the case.

When it came to choosing a new role, five years ago we cared most about company culture, getting decent money, and the potential for advancement. Statistically, workplace perks ranked dead last.

All of this is to say: adland office and work life in 2018 bore a closer superficial resemblance to an episode of Mad Men, which is set in 1962, than the isolated, robot-infested, distrustful, recession-fearing, masked-up, metaverse-crawling reality that is 2023. Zoom windows staring at you like flies’ eyes as you dodge phishing attempts.

So, clearly someone needs to take the pulse of the industry again.

But, who is up to such a momentous task?

Glad you asked.

The Mumbrella State of the Industry survey is back.

Is your leadership team genuinely diverse? Has the COVID-19 pandemic left a lasting mark on your career? Worried about the encroachment of AI on your profession? Help us gauge the current landscape by taking Mumbrella’s State of the Industry survey

It’ll take just 15 minutes and you’ll help shed light on the pressing concerns of the industry – and help shape the future of it too.

Participants will get early access to the full report, and the complete range of industry insights that it offers. Imagine what you could do with all that data!

And if you take part by October 20, you’ll go into the draw for a chance to win one of three $1,000 gift cards. 

Plus, you can do the survey on work time, because this is work-related, and what is work time, anyway?

No robots allowed!


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