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IPA publishes Agency Census 2017

We have today published our annual Agency Census, showcasing the breakdown of employees in IPA member agencies. Includes trend data.


The 2017 Agency Census reveals that overall numbers are marginally higher, with IPA members employing an estimated 25,290 in 2017 (compared with 25,234 in 2016).

While numbers in creative and other non-media agencies have fallen by 4.9% from 15,800 to 15,031, the employed base in media agencies has increased by 8.7% from 9,434 to 10,259. This means that employees at media agencies make up over 40% of IPA membership for the first time, a figure that has grown by 44% over the past five years.

Additional Census highlights:

  • The number of part-time employees at IPA member agencies has grown from 1,539 in 2016 to 1,545 and now makes up 6.1% of the employed base.
  • An estimated 860 first-year trainees and apprentices were working in member agencies on 30th June 2017. This is represents 3.4% of the employed base and is down from 1,079 in 2016.
  • 1,625 temps and freelancers were used by member agencies in 2017, accounting for 6.4% of the employed base. This is down from 1,727 in 2016.
  • The average age of employees in all IPA member agencies is 33.7, this figure is the same as reported in 2016.
  • The average tenure of permanent employees leaving their agencies in 2017 was 38.9 months, up from 34.7 months in 2016.
  • Total staff turnover during the year was an estimated 31.9%, an increase from 29.4% in 2016.

The Census also incorporates figures from the IPA’s Gender & BAME Survey published in January, which reveal that:

  • Men account for 69.1% of those in C-Suite roles, while women account for 30.9%. In 2016 this was recorded as 69.7% and 30.3% respectively.
  • Among the increasing number of agencies able to provide ethnic background information, 87.1% of employees were identified as being from a white background and 12.9% from a non-white background. In 2016 this was 88.0% and 12.0% respectively.

Commenting on the 2017 Agency Census, our Director General Paul Bainsfair said: "The IPA’s annual Census provides an important snapshot of the state of the industry and the make-up of adland, demonstrating if and where work needs to be done to improve diversity levels. As our President Sarah Golding rightly said on the release of the IPA Gender & BAME survey in January, we are moving in the right direction in a number of areas, but there is still much we can do in order to accelerate this growth. We will continue to watch and support our agencies’ diversity initiatives and hope to see an improvement in these figures over the next few years.”

For full details on the profile of the employed base by agency and department type, gender, age and ethnicity as well as working practices and staff turnover, download the full IPA Agency Census 2017. or view our one-page infographic summary. The Census is free to IPA members and £25 for non-members.

*The 2017 IPA Agency Census was undertaken using an online questionnaire among 232 corporate member agencies between July and December 2017. The responses received represent 86% of the estimated employed base. Profiles in this report are based on those agencies providing a full response to the section of the survey questionnaire to which it applies.

Last updated 09/03/2018

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