Ad Agencies: 5 Solutions for Hiring, Training and Retention

ad agency training

“The average Starbucks barista gets more training than the average communications employee.” Andrew Bennett

According to a recent 4A’s and Arnold Worldwide Survey:

90% of agency staff say they have to figure things out on their own due to the lack of training and 50% of talent in the marketing and communications industry feel undertrained and with no definable career path.

The survey found that agencies are losing employees because they see little career pathing, feel they’re learning on the job and find new employers that invest more in training.

Andrew Bennett, Global CEO of Arnold Worldwide, further reports on this landmark 4A’s study on hiring, development and retention at the 4As Transformation 2011 conference:

The Problem – according to the recent 4A’s and Arnold survey on hiring, development and retention of agency executives:

  • 30% of the collective agency workforce will be gone within 12 months
  • 70% of employees would call a recruiter back if one reached out to them
  • 96% of employees surveyed said they feel they could easily get a job, in part because of the improving economy
  • 37% expect to stay one to five more years in the industry, 66% plan on staying more than five years in the business
  • 90% of employees said they learned by figuring out problems on their own. Conversely, 25% of execs said employees figured out their own issues

The Solution  – Benett’s 5 solutions to turn employee attitudes around:

  1. Invest in talent in the early stages, such as schools
  2. Promote cross training
  3. Introduce new incentives, such as education financing or sabbaticals
  4. Fix performance management
  5. Engage employees in the career conversation

Click on the following link to download a pdf of Andrew Bennett’s presentation, “Transforming Talent Management”

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photo credit: Ian Sane via photopin cc

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Hi Michael, October/2012 – This presentation was done by Arnold last year, it got a bit of press then it very quickly disappeared. In Cannes this Summer, the topic was on the agenda again, and it was covered in the press. This time, I couldn’t let it go. My open letter response to the presentation in Cannes and the one made last year by Andrew/Arnold. ~ heidi

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