Ad agencies optimistic about prospects

Irish advertising agencies are significantly more optimistic about the industry’s prospects, with the majority expecting increased turnover across the sector by the end of the year.

The Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland’s (IAPI) annual census showed that nearly eight in 10 companies expect industry turnover to increase to the end of 2014, up from just a fifth last year.

Subsequently, the majority of agencies are also expecting growth in their own businesses in 2014.

Commenting on the results, IAPI chief executive Tania Banotti identified returning customer demand as a key feature of the upturn in the industry.

“IAPI’s 2014 Census points to a transformation in the fortunes of Ireland’s ad land. Not only have members witnessed an improvement in their own performance, they are also much more bullish about prospects in the wider industry.

“Crucially, IAPI member agencies are also reporting returning confidence of advertisers and other indicators of growing customer demand,” said Ms Banotti.

Agencies are envisaging average growth of 13% by the end of the year while the industry is hiring at pre-recession levels again too.

In total, 264 new hires were recruited by the 45 agencies surveyed, a 22% increase in employment levels since 2013. More than half of the agencies expect staff levels to increase further.

A number of challenges were identified by ad agencies, including the level of investment involved in pitching for new business and the “relentless pressure” from clients to lower hourly rates, according to the organisation.

“It’s encouraging that agencies are generally more positive in their outlook not just for their own agencies, but for the industry as a whole,” said IAPI president Orlaith Blaney. “While there are undoubtedly real challenges to overcome, in particular the cost of pitching and retaining talented staff, there are a lot of positives in this report.”

The advertising survey also showed that more than half of agencies offer some form of paid maternity leave in a bid to retain female talent, while 44% also offer paid paternity leave.

There are almost twice as many women on the boards of advertising agencies than the national average too, while their staff remain largely young with an average age of just 35 and a third of all under the age of 30.


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