Approximately 60% of Irish advertising agencies are predicting some form of growth this year following a number of difficult years for the industry according to the latest IAPI Industry Census which was published this week.
According to the Census, which was conducted amongst 43 IAPI members, a further 33% of agencies expect that things would remain the same this year while 7% said that it would decline.
When it came to estimating the change in turnover for the whole Irish advertising industry, however, only 20% said it would actually increase while 33% reckoned that it would remain the same in 2013. By comparison, 47% of agencies said it would decrease.
According to Amárach Research, which conducted the Census on behalf of IAPI, the apparent anomalies in sentiment can be explained by the fact that business owners in general are likely to be more optimistic about the prospects for their own business than they are for the wider industry in which they operate.
The overall picture, however, reflects an industry in transition and a note of cautious optimism underpins the research findings.
The 2013 Census also shows that employment levels are on par with 2007 pre-recession levels, since the last industry census of this nature was carried out. There are 1,281 people directly employed in the Irish advertising industry which is predominantly made up of a youthful workforce.
Last year the industry hired over two hundred and thirty people and 33% of agencies expect to increase staff levels this year. Based on agency forecast levels, the industry employment figure is expected to surpass 2007 levels by the end of the year. The average industry age of employees is 35 years.
The Census also found that 51% of the workforce in agencies were female while the remainder were men. However just 13% of women occupy the more senior positions at Chairperson, CEO/Managing Partner level. When the survey was carried out in 2007, this figure was 9%.
When it came to the challenges facing agencies, 80% of the agencies surveyed identified time pressures as the single largest issue. Other key issues include cost pressures, procurement selection processes, short-term thinking by clients and the loss of decision making functions to other countries.
Commenting on the launch of the IAPI Report Industry Census, Liam McDonnell, CEO Aegis and President of IAPI said, “The good news is that the overall employment level in Irish advertising agencies has been maintained over the last four years and our industry continues to reinvigorate itself. Three quarters of the work force are under forty years old while 66% now hold a third level qualification.
Despite reduced turnover and declining profits, IAPI agencies are evolving their operating models to help Irish business meet this challenge and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the changes in consumer behaviour. Our members continue to invest in their people and IAPI is doing everything possible to cultivate talent. The survey points to a resilient talent based industry that, despite huge challenges, is well placed to help Irish business and the wider economy to grow.”