Last week B&T ran a column by anonymous adland satirist Roy Morgan that called out the industry’s long hours and poor pay for new starters. Following that, MediaCom CEO Willie Pang penned (an albeit gentle) rebuttal. Keeping the ball rolling, here a young account director (who’s asked to remain anonymous) responds to Mr Pang’s piece…
Thanks Willie for coming to the table on this one and addressing the issue surrounding the pay and working conditions in our industry. However, while automation and different work practices can grease the skids and get you that competitive edge to put you an inch in-front of your competitor, it doesn’t hostly address the core fundamentals of this issue.
According to Glassdoor and B&T’s job board, opening salaries for account coordinators are $38,000 to $42,000 per annum. The minimum wage in Australia, that is the low-water mark that you can be paid in this country, is $37,000. From my own experience from five plus years ago, my starting salary in this industry was $35,000 – about nine per cent above the then minimum wage back then.
While contractually at least the welfare state remains strong, enshrining that the reasonable hours these kids toll equates to a 40 hour week. We know that this isn’t the case. Working to 10 or 11 at night for a week to get that big campaign over the line is sadly more common than not. I ask, at what point in the evening do we flag and question if the pay-check matches the workload.
I can hear what you’re saying, it’s bad for everyone. National wage growth is only half a percentage above inflation and if a leader of a media agency doesn’t push their people hard enough to get that campaign across the line, they can expect their opposite number at a competitive agency to do the same. There is certainly enough Patron XO poured at a sponsored NGEN party for a young media professional to drown their sorrows in.
It is for this reason I echo the calls by Roy Morgan for the Media Federation, as our go-to representative collection of media agencies, to set the standard for the industry to follow and to champion those agencies that do just that. Like Willie, we know the problems we need to overcome. I believe if our industry comes together and agrees to a standard of work conditions, we can truly share the belief in that we put people first.