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over 1 year ago by

An end to The Great Resignation?

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Campaign recently published an article looking at the changing recruitment market in advertising. As ever, there were a variety of viewpoints making for interesting reading.

But are we seeing an end to the Great Resignation?

To answer this question, we need to get to the root causes of the issue. In our view, much of the churn over the last 18 months is that so many agencies were already running very lean before covid hit. Throw in mass redundancies in Spring/Summer 2020 and teams were down to their bare bones.

Once WFH became the norm however, many agencies found that client work quickly returned. Coupled with a big new business drive, this meant a bumper 2021.

Finding enough people to fill the gaps was soon a major issue – hence the salary jumps we have seen in the last year. Under-resourcing leads to frustration (or worse, burnout) and people quit; perhaps even leaving the industry altogether. ​

But has this churn finally subsided? Our sense is that it has slowed but not completely stopped.

Firstly, we’d agree with Zoe Edwards that there is some element of seasonality to the current market. The usual November slowdown has also been exacerbated as bigger companies put in place hiring freezes until Christmas – in many cases to allow them to focus on well-earned promotions and pay rises for existing colleagues.

As we move into 2023 however, we predict a change.

Those in more senior roles may, as ever, take more convincing to jump ship. Typically, there are mortgages, childcare costs, etc. to be mindful of. Nevertheless, at the junior and mid-level there is perhaps a different story.

As Campaign’s article mentions, there was a significant number of people moving roles in 2021. Many of these were at salaries below £70,000. This is also the level were there has perhaps been most difficulty finding great people.

​As we come into 2023, those same people will be coming up to two years in their new post; a natural point to start looking at the next step. If that move isn’t available in their current company, the only option is to consider something elsewhere.

O​ver the last two years, we have also seen an increase in the number of candidates (fortunately only a couple placed by us!) returning to us 3-6 months after starting in a new position.

​In a candidate-short market, anybody not 100% enjoying their role (or feeling out of their depth), is likely to look to leave before the end of their probation period. It’s therefore clear that on all sides there is a definite need for clarity and realism; whether about the requirements of the role or your ability to meet those needs.

Finally, there is the question of salary.

Over the last 12 months, we have generally seen average salaries increase by around 10%. However, this is only keeping pace with inflation and has largely been achieved by those moving to a new company. Consequently, there are still candidates for whom a pay increase is a definite motivator.

We can therefore see that 2023 will have a continuation of this year's trends:

  • Senior roles may well be somewhat quieter

  • There will be a fight for good junior and midweight people

  • Salaries may increase slightly again before settling.