EXCLUSIVE: A pay rise of between 6 to 8% is on the cards for the majority of advertising, PR, digital and media agency staff, with 62% of employers planning to increase salaries over the next 12 months.
The competitive nature of the agency sector is pushing salary increases up to five percentage points above the national average of 3-5%, according to research by recruitment firm Michael Page.
Half of the 1,800 survey respondents plan to boost their employee’s wages by between 6% and 8%, with 23% to keep to the national average.
In a bid to attract top talent 13% of agencies are looking to increase wages by 12%-14% and just over 10% are planning increases of between 15% and 17%.
Three out of 10 agencies will give all of their staff a percentage increase, but the amount will vary according to performance. Just 1% said employees will receive the same percentage increase, while 31% said only their best performing staff will be given a boost.
Thirty-eight percent said none of their staff will receive an increase.
Attraction and retention
That 38% of agencies may have a higher level of staff turnover over the coming year, with desires for bigger pay packets the main motivator (43%) for seeking new roles.
Aspirations of more seniority are the second biggest contributor (29%) to turnover. Despite this only 9% of agencies use structured career progression as an attraction and retention tool.
The most popular retention tool was developing a strong company culture (46%), followed by work-life balance initiatives (23%) and recognition and awards (15%). Offering global career opportunities was the least favourite, employed by only 7% of employers.
Work-life balance is top of mind in the agency landscape where the majority of staff (38%), put in between 46 and 50 hours a week.
In an attempt to address the issue, 77% of agencies offer staff flexible working arrangements and 31% offer alternative leave options such as volunteering.
The options reveal that agency thinking is moving more in line with staff expectations, according to the report.
“Most agency professionals prefer a mix of financial and non-financial rewards. Whereas employers have typically focused on increasing salary levels as a key attraction and retention tool, the focus is now shifting toward more non-financial incentives such as flexible working arrangements and other work-life balance initiatives.”
Recruitment is forecast to be steady over the coming year, with a high demand for director-level talent, but there has also been a rise in temporary positions over the past 12 months.
Increased demand for temp workers and freelancers come as agencies look to boost headcount for project work while minimising risks where accounts could be lost.
There has been a “constant stream” of agency professional returning from overseas and introducing their advanced digital skills to the market, the report states.
Professionals from markets such as the UK may have more “enhanced skills”, but agencies said they will seek local talent first and top international recruits on 457 visas only “if necessary”.
How does your salary compare to the below? If you work in an ad, media or PR agency in NSW or Victoria, find your level and then number of years to discover how your pay packet stacks up.