One of the main dichotomies which Brand Recruitment comes across on a daily basis is client-side versus agency. Some candidates are tempted by the ‘cool’ agency lifestyle, yet others are driven by the opportunity to look after one individual brand in its entirety month after month. How does life vary between agency-side and client-side?
The main difference is that client-side you are working for the one company and your job title could be anything from a Marketing Executive to a Marketing Director. When working agency-side, you could manage a variety of different accounts or one larger, more prestigious client account.
Both disciplines offer a different working environment and it is down to personal preference as to which one you would thrive in. Some of the candidates registered with Brand Recruitment are not interested in client-side if they are working in an agency, and vice versa for those working in-house. Some marketing job-seekers are looking to move across from an agency to client-side. Here are some observations that could sway your decision as to whether you would be keen to further your career either agency or client-side.
Brand Recruitment has recently released their Marketing Salary Review for 2010 which compares salaries for client-side and agency. A marketing manager can expect to earn on average £39,081 and an account manager £30,439. There is a notable difference but interestingly enough account managers’ salaries have gone up by 6.53% from the previous year and marketing managers’ salaries have decreased by -8.84%. If this trend continues then these two sets of salaries should level out. This example is similar across all the other comparable salaries; in-house roles paying slightly higher than agency.
Other differences include the hours worked. The general consensus is that those working client-side follow more ‘stable’ hours – nine-to-five - and those working agency-side are often required to burn the candle at both ends. These are only speculations, and, whilst most agencies will require flexibility in working hours, the perceived disparity is something which agencies are keen to dispel. Recently more and more agencies are offering days of in lieu for working late or at the weekend, along with a range of in-office creature comforts such as smoothie fridges, games rooms, and even ‘nap rooms’.
The type of work carried out varies between client side and agency. In an in-house environment you will more likely manage budgets, make decisions and devise strategies. Working in an agency, you will be expected to create and implement solutions under deadlines. Naturally in-house there is less variety than in an agency where various clients will have a range of demands, yet conversely it could be said that working in-house can be more challenging as there is a need to constantly keep the company’s or brand’s image fresh, and remain competitive within the marketplace. However, to extend this, there are agencies which focus on one particular specialism, for example, brand extension or experiential marketing. Naturally in these environments the need to continually develop new concepts for a variety of clients is as challenging as maintaining momentum with one individual brand or company.
At the start of a marketing career, it is relatively simple to move between the two ‘sides’; however, once your career is more established, many companies on both client and agency-side are reluctant to employ marketers from the other side of the divide. As such, it pays to find out as much as possible as early on in your career to ensure you make the most sensible choice.