More Than a Quarter of Strategy Professionals Do Not See Themselves Working at Their Current Ad Agencies Within a Year

LinkedIn findings uncover reasons behind strategic talent turnover

NEW YORK – Oct. 17, 2016 – Today, at the 4A’s annual Strategy Festival, on the heels of a panel called “The Truth About Strategy Talent,” LinkedIn and the 4A’s released exclusive data around engaging and retaining strategy professionals, including that 28 percent of respondents do not see themselves working at their current agency in the next year. The professionals working in strategy roles—such as planners, creative strategists and digital strategists, among others—are also 40 percent more likely than employees in other agency roles to say they plan to leave their current agencies within six months or less.

Addressing the challenges of attracting and retaining great talent has been a top priority for advertising agencies during the past several years. This is the first time LinkedIn’s survey data has been analyzed to give a complete 360-degree view of the strategist job function.

Strategy professionals are interested in staying in the advertising industry, but are also more likely to be looking—actively or casually—for new jobs, with 92 percent interested in hearing about a new opportunity. The research shows that strategy talent is 43 percent more likely to have responded to a message from a recruiter about a new job opportunity than the average agency employee.

“Advertising agencies are fighting an uphill battle to retain and attract the top talent that drives their business,” said Jann Schwarz, Global Director of Agency & Channel Development, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. “The research suggests that, in addition to salary, lack of challenging work and overlooked promotions are key blockers to retaining strategy professionals. Agencies must better align with the underlying factors that motivate employees to stay and make adjustments accordingly.”

Despite the fact that more than a quarter of respondents do not see themselves at their agency next year, when thinking about their next career move, strategy professionals are 35 percent more likely than other respondents to prefer a promotion at their current company than a job switch. This speaks to a clear opportunity to retain strategy talent rather than constantly recruiting for new candidates to fill those roles on agency teams.

The findings revealed that strategists are career-driven, meaning they value purpose, status and opportunity to grow and learn over salary. Situations that have motivated talent to look for new job opportunities include missing out on or being overlooked for a promotion; experiencing a boring or unchallenging day at work; hearing about an uncertain future for the company; and having a bad interaction with a boss or colleague, among others.

“A good strategy is one of the most important factors in enabling an advertising agency team to create a successful client campaign,” said Nancy Hill, president and CEO, 4A’s. “These survey results have helped us identify what motivates the members who provide crucial strategic insight—and we see clearly that they want to have a purpose and be challenged. Now that we have the data to support this, we can appropriately engage employees and identify and act on ways to retain them.”

This data was analyzed as part of an ongoing series of initiatives between LinkedIn and the 4A’s that began in March.

Methodology: The LinkedIn data included in this research pulls data from four sources:

  1. LinkedIn’s 2015 Job Switchers survey: The largest global survey on professionals who recently switched jobs, surveying over 10,000 professionals in March 2015 who had changed companies between December 2014 and March 2015
  2. LinkedIn’s 2015 Talent Drivers survey: The largest professional study, which surveyed over 300,000 global professionals between September and October 2015 across all industries and in all functions
  3. LinkedIn’s 2016 Talent Trends survey: Surveyed over 26,000 global professionals, along with 7,000 global professionals who recently changed companies between January 2016 and March 2016
  4. LinkedIn data based on member behavior as of February 2016

In all sources, LinkedIn analyzed or surveyed global members through the lens of the LinkedIn platform. As such, the samples are influenced by how members chose to use the site, which can vary based on professional, social and regional culture, as well as overall site availability and accessibility. For the surveys, we invited LinkedIn members to participate through an email invite without incentives.

About the 4A’s
The 4A’s is the catalyst for bringing together the right people in the right place at the right time to address the advertising industry’s most critical business issues. The 4A’s provides leadership, advocacy, guidance and community to our members and the industry at large, with proprietary access to the people, information and tools needed to make smarter management decisions. Its mission is to help agencies become more successful. Visit the 4A’s at

Kate Urbach
Tel. 917-575-9513
[email protected]