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Mike Fletcher 

IPA Agency Census reveals Covid impact & pay divide

IPA Agency Census reveals Covid impact & pay divide

Just over a quarter of staff departures from member agencies of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) during 2020 were a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the association’s annual census has revealed.

The 2020 IPA Agency Census, published today, states that overall staffing levels within member companies fell by 10.8% from 24,866 in 2019 to 22,188 in 2020.

In media agencies, staff numbers fell by 12.1% from 11,357 to 9,980. Whereas in creative and other non-media agencies, numbers fell by 9% from 13,509 in 2019 to 12,298 in 2020.

Drilling down further into the figures, the number of males employed in IPA member agencies fell by 8.1% year-on–year from 11,700 to 10,752 - compared with a fall of 12.8% for the number of females employed (13,088 to 11,411).

The number of staff aged under 25 employed by member agencies also declined  - by 29.4% from the 4,592 recorded in 2019 to 3,243 in 2020. These 1,349 departures accounted for over 50% of the total decline in employee numbers.

Further insights offered by the IPA Agency Census include a fall in the overall percentage of females in C-suite positions, from 34.0% in 2019 to 32.4%.

In creative and other non-media agencies, this figure was 32.1%, down from 33.2% in 2019, while in their media agency counterparts it was slightly higher at 32.8%, down from 35.8% in 2019.

However, the census did record rises associated with more diverse agency workforces.

The number of employees from non-white backgrounds rose from the 13.7% recorded in 2019 to 15.3% in 2020.

Each of the seniority bands used in the survey also had year-on-year increases in non-white representation with numbers highest at junior levels - 21.9%, up from 17.7% in 2019.

At the C-Suite level, 6.4% of roles are occupied by individuals from a non-white background, up from 4.7% in 2019.

And yet, division still exists between men and women when it comes to agency salaries.

Among those member companies that provided salary breakdowns, a gender pay gap of 22.7% in favour of men was recorded - although it is down slightly on the 24.4% gap recorded in 2019.

At 25.8% the gender pay gap is significantly higher in creative and other non-media agencies than it is in media agencies where it stands at 14.3%.

At 26.8%, the gender pay gap is higher in agencies with up to 200 employees than it is in their larger counterparts where it is 20.9%.

The pay divide also exists between different ethnic groups.

Among respondents providing salary breakdowns by seniority and ethnic background, an ethnicity pay gap of 19.5% in favour of those from a white background exists.

This stands at 16.2% in creative and other non-media agencies and 21.2% in media agencies.

At 21.8%, the ethnicity pay gap is higher in agencies with more than 200 employees than it is in their smaller counterparts where it stands at 13.6%.

IPA president, Julian Douglas said: “The pandemic has hit all areas of our lives, and sadly but unsurprisingly our jobs, as this latest IPA Census reveals. With the exception of numbers of people from non-white backgrounds increasing in spite of overall numbers falling, the impact of the pandemic has exaggerated some existing negative trends.

“Talent is equally distributed, opportunity isn’t. Now is the time to turn the industry's good intentions into meaningful actions. I implore you to read the IPA’s new report 'A Future of Fairness’, which sets out a clear roadmap for agencies to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces. We must also continue to celebrate those people and companies that are already making a real difference in the diversity and inclusivity of our business. We kicked this off with the IPA inaugural iList last summer, but this should only be the start.

“The awareness is here, the resources and best practice examples are available, it is up to all of us to put our words into action, for the sustained effort required to enable everyone to have their rightful share of opportunity.”

The free, full 2020 IPA Agency Census can be downloaded from the IPA website.

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