In-house vs. Agency: Which job should you take?
At times when you search for a job in the Marketing or Advertising industry, you are faced with two choices:
The first is an in-house role, working within a big (or small) multinational company or startup – usually a brand or product – in their marketing, advertising, or perhaps public relations/communications team.
The second is on the agency side – working at a company that is hired by the brand to outsource the marketing work. But not just brand – multiple brands at the same time!
There are big differences between the two options. So, how do you know what works best for you? Here are some of the major factors you should consider for these roles, and how to decide if you should be agency-side or client-side.
Creativity is an absolutely essential skill to work in this sector. You need to be able think outside the box, come up with ideas, and understand how your creative idea will work in the client’s favour to help boost their business. Even so, there are differences in the creative aspect when working with a brand or agency.
• Choose an agency if you want the chance to get creative for multiple brands. You won’t be locked into one type of creative brief – you’ll get the chance to shine on various campaigns.
• Choose an in-house role if you want to focus on shaping and guiding the creative voice for one specific brand. This is a longer-term commitment.
Workload (and Time Management)
Both type of roles are busy. There is so much more that goes into a marketing brief or creative campaign than the average consumer sees! You need to be a dynamic individual, capable of meeting deadlines and dealing with a pretty hefty workload at times.
• Choose an agency if you are a time management superstar. You might be working with anywhere between three and seven clients at once, and you will need to be across all of them in different capacities, depending on your job. You’ve got to be able to juggle the demands of all your clients – it’s a job that definitely challenges and keeps you on your toes!
• Choose an in-house role if you’re looking for a slower-paced workload – but keep in mind that while it’s steady, it can often be predictable and very same-same. This isn’t a bad thing, but more creative types keep to get their juices flowing might find themselves looking for more of a challenge.
No matter how content you are in your role, you should always be thinking about the next step and striving to prove yourself to get there. The pace at which you can move up the ranks differs between brands and agencies, but both typically depend on how quick vacant roles come up.
• Choose an agency if you want unlimited opportunities and the chance to try your hand at a few different roles. Many agencies (particularly smaller ones) offer the chance for you to dabble in some job-sharing, as well as mucking in to help colleagues on various accounts when they need extra hands. It’s great way to build skills fast.
• Choose an in-house role if you want sure and steady growth to the top. It might take you longer, but there is often a clear career path to move up the ladder. Proving yourself takes time but there’s often a direct path to management, if you can stick it out!
Ah, money. Isn’t this what everyone want to know about? While it shouldn’t be a deciding factor, we know it does make a difference. It’s hard to say whether agency or in-house pays more, because it very much depends on the job you have, but for less senior roles here’s what we reckon:
• Choose an agency if you’re content with starting at the bottom and working your way up. Do your research (some agencies pay more than others) but typically you can earn big bucks as long as you prove yourself by getting excellent results for your clients.
• Choose an in-house role if you’re okay with waiting longer to get a promotion, but potentially starting on a higher wage. Especially if you’re on the corporate side, the paycheck is going to be bigger – but a lot of deliverables are expected of you.
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