Digital ‘cannibalisation’ of budgets creates staffing crisis for Irish ad industry

24 May 2019281 Views

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Retention crisis exacerbated by Brexit and flow of digital spend to two major online platforms.

Major forces in technology and politics are affecting staff retention and are creating an existential crisis for the traditional ad industry in Ireland.

That’s the view of workforce expert Gary Mullan, owner of recruitment agency Prosperity, as he warns that the existing ad industry risks being decimated.

‘The cannibalisation of the advertising spends from Facebook and Google, plus the budget cuts and indecision from brands in the UK, have definitely had an adverse impact on the Irish advertising industry’
– GARY MULLAN

Prosperity has been retained by global ad agency Dentsu in Paris to hire 100 staff across all disciplines.

Mullan warned that graduates are setting their sights on careers with tech giants such as Facebook and Google, while only 3pc of jobseekers look at the traditional ad industry. He said this means ad agencies find it hard to keep staff, which in turn has a big impact on client relationships and future growth.

Develop the right soft skills before conquering digital

“Ad agencies are looking to hire,” said Mullan. “You may not get the free lunches and all the lavish perks a multinational will give you, but you will get to work with a diverse group of clients and improve your pitching skills, which will stand to you for your next career steps.

“You’ll develop excellent skills such as leadership, autonomy and good commercial skills. So, get some good agency experience for a few years before you go client-side,” he recommends to graduates.

Mullan also noted that the industry is suffering from the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

“The cannibalisation of the advertising spends from Facebook and Google, plus the budget cuts and indecision from brands in the UK, have definitely had an adverse impact on the Irish advertising industry.”

But Mullan said there are still plenty of opportunities in advertising. “If you want a job in the media or creative sectors, spend three to five years at an agency and you’ll develop significant soft skills which will stand to you for the rest of your career.”

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com