Advertising and media agencies, like companies everywhere, are experiencing a labor crunch. With hundreds of open recs and few candidates to choose from, agencies are facing the prospect of turning down work because they don’t have the staff to do it.
One way to solve the labor crunch is to embrace the concept of remote workers. Not only will it solve the short-term recruitment challenges agencies face right now, but it’s entirely likely that remote work is the future of employment, and those agencies that don’t allow it will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
The Great Resignation of 2021
We are living through an extraordinary time, by any measure. The pandemic forced people to work from home and to cancel all social activity. As a result, they had plenty of time to think about big issues, such as what they wanted to get out of life, and how much of their time they wanted to dedicate to work. Many knowledge workers moved out of the city to escape the pandemic, only to discover they liked having more space and appreciated the lower cost of living. Why return to the rat race just to afford expensive housing?
Beginning in April 2021, just as companies were beginning to make plans for their employees to return to the office, the Great Resignation began. Over a three month period, 11.5 million American workers quit their jobs. Of those still working, 48% told Gallop that they’re actively looking for other work.
What are they seeking when they quit? Many say they’re in search of more free time and happiness. The cultural shifts of the past year, combined with economic upheaval caused by lockdowns, have fundamentally changed the way employees want to work.
Remote work is a top priority, and 70% of American workers said they’d happily forgo benefits — including health insurance paid time off and retirement accounts — in order to continue working from home.
Today we see a global labor shortage in every sector, from retailing, restaurants and service industries, to ecommerce developers, marketers and agency personnel.
Ad agencies struggle with The Great Resignation
Advertising and media agencies are far from immune to the Great Resignation. Many have hundreds of open positions they can’t fill, and ad professionals continue to leave the industry.
A survey of 423 marketers and agency employees found that 63% plan to change jobs or careers this year, 40% demand flexible hours, and 100% — every single respondent! — said they would not consider a job that didn’t offer the option to work from home.
Their reasons for quitting mirror those of other knowledge workers. Digiday interviewed seven people who left their agency jobs without having another one lined up. A desire for a better life/work balance, and too much work without a sense of satisfaction were some of the reasons given.
Across the industry, business leaders are responding to employee demands by offering more flexibility. Many are opting to give up big offices that accommodate the entire workforces in favor of multiple satellite offices in areas that are closer to where employees live. The goal is to allow employees to mostly work from home, but to provide a space for weekly or biweekly team meetings.
And full-time work from home is still on the table for many big corporations. In September, The Conference Board released a survey of more than 330 HR executives at large companies, and found that they are 3x more likely to hire remote employees; 36% are willing to hire people who are fully remote and located anywhere in the world.
Will agency executives join their peers in other industries and meet their employees’ demands for flexible work schedules? It certainly would be wise to do so, especially since we urgently need to stem the employee exodus from the space.
Remote work works
Paragon Digital Services can offer insight into the questions on how to run an agency efficiently when workers are remote. As our critical teams are widely dispersed, the single most important factor is having a deep understanding and high priority on processes. When we take on clients, during the onboarding phase, every single process is written down and mapped to KPI, in precise detail, so that each employee knows what is expected of him or her.
Our investments in mapping each business processes have paid off in numerous ways. Ad operations work done remotely by Paragon has lead to efficiency gains ranging from 20% – 30% and accuracy rates (error free work) above 99.9%.
The final reason to support remote work: employees say it’s critical to their quality of life. Companies can stem attrition by enabling their employees to achieve the right work/life balance, and by assigning employees to work that provides them a sense of satisfaction which leads to opportunities for meaningful growth “within” your organization.
Interested in discussing our offerings further? Get in touch.