IPA publishes 2016 Agency Census

The estimated size of the employed base in IPA member agencies has increased from 23,662 to 25,234, up by 6.6% year-on-year, reveals the 2016 IPA agency Census.

Of this total number, the employed base in creative and other non-media agencies increased by 6.9% from 14,780 to 15,800, while the base in media agencies increased by 6.2% from 8,882 to 9,434.
The IPA census is the definitive annual survey of employment trends in media, advertising and marketing communication agencies, and follows the publication of the IPA’s Gender/BAME survey published in January. View the full Census here. 
Additional Census highlights:

  • An estimated 1,539 individuals, 6.1% of the employed base, work for their agencies on a part-time basis, up from 1,423 in 2015.
  • An estimated 501 individuals, 2.0% of the employed base, work for their agencies at home on a regular basis, down from 771 in 2015.
  • An estimated 974 first-year trainees and 105 apprentices in member agencies were working in member agencies on 1st September 2016, representing 4.2% of the employed base. These compare with 1,150 and 60 respectively in 2015, 5.1% of the employed base.
  • Agencies employed an estimated 292 interns, with 70.6% of these being found in creative and other non-media agencies and 29.4% in media agencies.
  • An estimated 1,727 temps and freelancers were employed by member agencies, down from 2,511 in 2015.
  • The average tenure of permanent employees leaving their agencies during the period under review was just under 3 years (35.1 months). This is down from the figure of 39.2 months recorded in 2015.
  • Females account for 30.5% of those in an executive management position, down from 33.1% in 2015. They account for 25.5% of those at the highest level of seniority (Chair/CEO/MD), down from 27.3% and 33.0% of other executive management positions, down from 37.6%.*
  • Among the increasing number of agencies able to provide ethnic background information, 88.0% of employees were identified as being from a white background and 12.0% from a non-white background.
  • The average age of employees in all IPA member agencies is 33.7 years, while only 5.9% of the employed base is aged over 50.

Says Paul Bainsfair, IPA Director General: “These figures provide welcome news that, overall, the industry is in good health. However, as with all these things, the devil is in the detail. We have a lot more work to do to encourage greater gender and BAME parity within the industry. Furthermore, with competition from other industries, it is more important than ever that we are front of mind for those considering their career choices and that we reach and attract as diverse an audience as possible. On which note, it will be interesting to see the extent to which these figures swell following the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy which comes into force in April, something which the IPA will be supporting its members with through our Creative Pioneers scheme.”
For further details on the profile of the employed base by agency type, gender, age, ethnicity and department type, as well as working practices and staff turnover, read the full 2016 Agency Census here. It is free to IPA members and £45 for non-members.
* The 2016 IPA Agency Census was undertaken using a online questionnaire among 229 corporate member agencies between 6th September and 15th December 2016, with 1st September 2016 defined as the census date. Profiles in this report are based on those agencies providing a full response to the section of the survey questionnaire to which it applies and may, therefore, differ from those reported in the 2016 Gender and BAME report.
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Last updated 21 January 2022