Many candidates reach out to me seeking the promised land of clientside, but is it really the utopia many think it is?
Working in an agency can be one of the most fast-paced, dynamic environments to work in. Client demands sometimes mean deadlines seem impossible, however, this is the very thing that makes agency life so exciting.
Because of this dynamism, you tend to find in an agency that people are learning new skills and technologies all the time. More often than not it’s agencies that are early adopters.
When working clientside many candidates find that the pace is more predictable, after all, you only have one client. This can be appealing to some. In addition, often people feel more involved in the decision making of the business.
Life in an agency can be uncertain at times, with multiple clients to look after all with high demands, there’s no doubt some days will mean longer hours than your average 9-5. Ultimately, you are there to serve clients and deliver against challenging targets, overtime is expected.
If you prefer having a solid weekday routine, I’d consider whether agency life would disrupt your day-to-day life too much. Although some agencies offer flexi-time so you can work around a routine that fits best for you.
On the plus side, agencies are usually very sociable environments with football tables, ping pong and beer fridges being quite the norm. It’s no secret that there is a real buzz in marketing agencies which can be something missing in a corporate client-side environment. Since agencies are usually larger than a typical client-side marketing team there’s a great atmosphere. And, if we’re going to be cliché, ‘work hard, play hard’ couldn’t be more appropriate.
3. Career progression
In general, roles in an agency are based on ‘specialist’ expertise whereas clientside can be a little more generalist. If you’re considering a move into an agency, make sure you’ve got the depth of knowledge required and ‘hands-on experience’ for the specific role.
Once you have this, specialists tend to get paid more than generalists and there is a greater demand for skills so promotions are more likely. Equally, you’re more likely to be headhunted for your next career move – it’s nice to be in demand!