Bullying a problem in adland, B&T poll shows

Bullying a problem in adland, B&T poll shows

A B&T poll has found that senior management at agencies in Australia are prone to bullying junior staff.

Close to 650 voters responded to the B&T poll, which asked: Is bullying a problem at your agency?

The largest percentage of the 635 voters (33%) who took part in the poll answered ‘Yes, senior management are particularly prone to bullying junior staff, while 27% of voters said bullying was a problem at all levels throughout the agency.

Less than one third of respondents (31%) said they’d never witnessed bullying at their agency, while 9% said management generally acted quickly to stop bullying when it occurred.

In reaction to the poll results, Margaret Zabel, CEO of the Communications Council, said that bullying is “an extremely serious act and accusation”, but that “it’s important that we do not blur the lines between bullying and performance management or disciplinary issues”.

"Given the definition of bullying is not made clear in the poll, it is very difficult to comment on the extent of the issue in our sector, or to identify the main problem areas and how to approach them,” she added.  

Zabel said aside from the poll findings, there are areas within the advertising industry that require focus.

"It is a high-pressure, highly competitive environment, with large workloads, tight deadlines and long hours, which can have a negative effect on the way people work and interact. Creative agencies also have a lot of young managers, without sufficient management and HR training programs in place,” she said.

Sophie Madden, CEO of the Media Federation of Australia, added that she was surprised by the results and that more needs to be done to combat bullying happening at agencies.

“What we do know is that one of the main drivers to people changing roles is their boss or their client, which is one of the reasons why media agencies have invested in the people and culture area over the last five years," said Madden, adding that bullying is not something that should be tolerated in any environment and that these results indicate that more needs to be done in this area.

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