800% Increase in MPB Vacancies

5 mins

In 2020, media agencies were hugely affected by the pandemic. In Q2 2020, a large number of ...

By Amy Spring


In 2020, media agencies were hugely affected by the pandemic. In Q2 2020, a large number of businesses paused their marketing and media spending, which in turn meant that media agencies had to make redundancies, pause recruitment, and pause any pay rises or promotions. For many agencies, this continued throughout 2020 into 2021 as their clients remained cautious with their ad spending...

As the market bounced back and ad spend returned, agencies need to re-fill their teams, or even increase their headcount to account for clients increasing their spend to be front of mind in the market again, and so many of their clients re-launching ad campaigns simultaneously. As a result of this, we have seen a 1414% increase in media agency roles when compared with June 2020 (data based on the UK market comparing data from June 2020 and June 2021). 

Revenue taken by Facebook, Linkedin and other social media platforms is predicted to be over $50bn this year, according to research from TradingPlatforms.com and Statista. Their report claims revenue from display advertising alone will grow 16.7% this year, compared to 2020 (The Drum, July 22, 2021).

Whether you're hiring, looking for a new role, or progressing at your current company... we want to hear from you! Have your say on flexible working, interviewing in 2021 and mental health: fill in our survey (it takes a few minutes to complete) so we can write a report on the changes in the job market.

Fill in survey - 2021: Changes in the job market

Read on for more insights from our Senior Consultant in MPB, Amy Spring...

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The impact on hiring for media agencies 

The main difference we have seen with interview processes is that time to hire has dramatically dropped – the companies securing new talent are those who are moving through processes quickly.

In order to do this, a number of our clients who historically would have included a response to a brief or another task at the 2nd stage of the interview have decided not to include this, as it takes too much time for candidates to do.

Equally, as there are so many roles in the market at the moment, candidates are interviewing with upwards of 5 companies at the same time, so it becomes too time-consuming for them to complete multiple tasks and go through multiple stages for each process.

A really positive change that we have seen is that employers are being much more engaged in hiring processes; Hiring managers have a greater understanding of the importance of allowing candidates to ask lots of questions, and explaining why candidates should join their agency – what sets them apart, what progression opportunities they can offer and what the day to day of the role entails.

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Staying competitive in a busy market 

There are a number of ways clients can be competitive in this market...

  • The first would be to condense interview processes as much as possible while allowing candidates enough time to get a feel for the role and company and ask any questions they may have.

  • We are recommending to our clients that they do 2-stage processes. 58% of 47,606 people surveyed by us in June 2021 said that 2 interviews were the maximum number of interviews they would expect before accepting a role. 

  • It’s also really important for clients to move quickly through processes – this means CV feedback within 24 hours, interview feedback within 24 hours, and ideally taking no longer than a week to move through processes.

  • The interviewer needs to prepare for interviews as much as the interviewee, they need to be prepared with tangible examples of what progression looks like, what the culture is like, and what their USPs are.

  • Businesses need to be competitive with salaries; Not only are we seeing an increase in salaries being offered by most agencies, but we are also seeing agencies give large counter-offers to try and retain their employees.

  • Equally, ad tech companies are increasingly hiring candidates from media agencies, and they generally offer much higher salaries.

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What does this mean for people interviewing? 

It’s a great time to be a job seeker! There is a huge amount of choice in the market for anyone looking for a new role, across the network and independent agencies and all manner of industries within this.

The flip side of this is that it’s very easy to become overwhelmed; there are so many options to choose from that is easy to become confused and differentiate between roles and agencies and their points of difference. My advice would be to be clear about what you’re looking for and what’s important to you and focus on this. Candidates could work this out by writing down their non-negotiables and decision-making factor for their next role, whether it’s client, agency type, culture, benefits perks or salary.

Most candidates will be in multiple interview processes at once, so it’s important to keep your diary organized. Keeping track of your interviews and blocking out time to prepare for them will help you focus on each role, and allow you to be fully engaged and armed with lots of questions and research for each interview.

It can be overwhelming being contacted by so many recruiters about agency roles, so working with one recruitment agency exclusively can be a great way for candidates in this market to stay on top of their job search. Here at Sphere, we can coordinate internally to ensure your interviews don’t clash, and that you have all the tools you need to be successful in securing your dream role.

If you are a job seeker, hiring at the moment or have any thoughts on the above then please reach out to me directly! 

Amy Spring
Senior Consultant

Sphere Digital Recruitment 2022
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