IPA publishes Agency Census 2023

The IPA has published its 2023 Agency Census revealing that overall staff numbers within IPA agency membership have increased marginally year-on-year.

According to the 2023 IPA Agency Census, now in its 64th year, total employee numbers within IPA member agencies have stabilised and, as of 1 September 2023, stand at 26,630 This represents a marginal rise of 1.3% from the 26,290 recorded in 2022.

Breaking this overall figure down by agency type, the number of employees in creative and other non-media agencies has increased slightly from an estimated 14,643 in 2022 to 14,698 in 2023, while the number of employees in media agencies has increased from an estimated 11,647 in 2022, to 11,932 in 2023.

By gender, the number of males employed in member agencies has increased from an estimated 11,829 in 2022, to 11,883 in 2023, accounting for 44.6% of the employed base, while the number of female employees has increased from an estimated 14,366 in 2022 to an estimated 14,557 in 2023, representing 54.7% of the employed base.

Staff turnover down marginally

At 31.2%, total staff turnover is down marginally on the 32.4% reported in 2022. The level of turnover in creative agencies and other non-media agencies was 31.5%, down from the 32.1% reported in 2022, while in media agencies it was 30.8%, down from 32.8% in 2022.

The number of employees working full time in their agency increased from an estimated 24,545 in 2022, to 24,910 in 2023, while the number of individuals employed in a part-time role has increased from an estimated 1,746 in 2022 to 1,720 in 2023.

The number of first-year trainees and apprentices working in member agencies declined from an estimated 1,387 and 293 respectively in 2022 to an estimated 756 and 288 in 2023.

The percentage of females in C-suite positions (Chair/CEO/MD and Other Executive Management) increases marginally

Females occupied 37.9% of individuals in C-suite roles, up marginally from 37.5% in 2022. This increase is driven by the rise in women at the most senior level of the C-suite – Chair/CEO/MD, which is up from 31.2% in 2022 to 37.2% in 2023.

Females occupied 38.0% of C-suite roles in creative and other non-media agencies, up from 36.3% in 2022, and 37.7% in their media agency counterparts down from 39% in 2022.

Level of ethnic diversity in IPA agencies declines marginally

The percentage of employees from a non-white background is estimated at 23.3%, down marginally on the 23.6% reported in 2022. In terms of seniority, individuals from a non-white background account for 11.0% of employees in Executive Management and C-suite roles, down marginally on the 11.2% reported in 2022. 

Individuals from a non-white background occupy 35.6% of entry and junior-level roles, up from the 33.3% reported in 2022.

In media agencies, at junior and entry levels, 39.2% of individuals are from a non-white background, up from 36.7% in 2022, while the equivalent figures in creative and other non-media agencies is 30.5%, up from 27.8% in 2022.

Gender pay gap falls

Among those member agencies providing salary breakdowns by gender and seniority, a pay gap of 15.2% in favour of males exists. This is lower than the 23.3% recorded in 2021 and the 17.4% recorded in 2022.

At 20.5%, the gender pay gap is higher in creative and other non-media agencies than it is in media agencies, where it stands at 8.6%. While the gap has decreased in both agency types, the decrease is greater for media agencies which stood at 14.3% in 2022 than for creative and other non-media agencies which was 21.1% in 2022.

Slight increase in size of the ethnicity pay gap

Among those member agencies providing salary breakdowns by ethnicity and seniority, an ethnicity pay gap of 21.6% in favour of white employees exists – an increase on the gap of 21.1% reported in 2022. At 23.6%, the differential is higher in media agencies than it is in creative and other non-media agencies, where it stands at 17.3%. In both instances, the size of the ethnicity pay gap has increased year-on-year, reflecting both the increase in the percentage of non-white employees at junior and entry levels as well as the decrease in the percentage of non-white employees at the most senior levels.

Vast majority of agencies continue to use hybrid working models post Covid

The vast majority of agencies indicated that they were continuing to use a hybrid approach to working, with 54.8% using a three-day office/two-day remote model for their workers and a further 27.0% using a two-day office/three-day remote model.

Average age of employees increases marginally

The average age of employees has increased marginally from 34.4 years in 2022 to 34.6 years in 2023. 7% of employees are aged 50+, up by 0.5 per centage points since 2022.

“After a dip in employee numbers during Covid and then a sharp recovery last year, we are now seeing a levelling out. As such, there are less dramatic improvements this year across key metrics, although some progress in some areas, such as the increase in women at the most senior levels of our business, which is most welcome.”

What is clear, however, with overall numbers of people from non-white backgrounds and numbers of people from non-white backgrounds in the C-suite both declining marginally, is that we mustn’t lose momentum on the great work our agencies have invested in over the past few years to make our business more diverse and inclusive. Let’s continue our efforts here regarding attracting, retaining, promoting and fairly remunerating our talent.
Paul Bainsfair, Director, General, IPA

“The IPA has a number of resources to help our agencies best support their people, and our new Adland Wellbeing Lab and People First Promise, launched by our President Josh Krichefski last week, will no doubt prove vital additions.”

“Overall, this year’s findings demonstrate a more settled snapshot of the industry compared to previous years. They also flag, however, that while the percentage of people from non-white backgrounds, at 23.3% of our business, is significantly higher than the ONS’s national figures for the UK’s percentage of 18%, there is a stalling of progress this year in terms of the recruitment, progression and remuneration of ethnically diverse talent.

“This indicates that extra attention and fair opportunities need to be given here, with possible interventions including insisting on diverse shortlists when working with recruitment agencies or using the Apprenticeship Levy for upskilling.

By shining a light on areas that need our attention, we can make speedier progress. The richer and more diverse the composition of our industry, the more relevant and interesting we will be for our clients, audiences and modern-day British society.
Leila Siddiqi, Director of D&I, IPA

IPA initiatives, resources and training to improve diversity and inclusivity

To address and progress the levels of diversity and inclusivity within the agency community, the IPA has a full programme of initiatives, resources and training listed on its Talent and Diversity Hub and on the newly launched IPA Adland’s Wellbeing Lab.

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