Marketing industry accused of being ‘complacent’ about staff

The UK marketing and advertising industry has been accused of “complacency” when it comes to holding onto staff, despite there being a dearth of talent coming up through the ranks.

Leading global recruitment company Aquent says companies are “throwing money” at marketers to persuade them to stay, rather than investing in long-term retention strategies.

Aquent’s European managing director Stefan Ciecierskii says: “There is a shortage of people in the market at the moment, but a lot of complacency. Companies are desperate to find people, but are not always terribly smart at trying to keep them. They do not have good enough retention strategies and there is a lack of training. Companies are throwing money at people to try to keep them, which isn’t the best way.”

Aquent says 40% of marketing departments and marketing agencies went into 2007 expecting to increase staff salaries by 5% – double the rate of inflation.

Two-thirds of clients and agencies have increased their permanent headcount this year, but the average staff turnover in the first half of 2007 was 23%, according to Aquent research.

Meanwhile, the predicted growth in the use of temporary staff or freelancers going into 2007 was 19%, but Aquent says the reality is that it has been 63%.

Ciecierskii adds: “The same thing happened last year, but this sector doesn’t learn easily. The budgeting for staff development and staff retention strategies remains inadequate, with employee calls for more flexible working and greater training going unheard.”

Aquent is a US-based recruitment company with 72 offices in 17 countries around the world.