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At last, Irish ad sector sees growth

Tuesday, July 29 10:32:27

There's a new sense of optimism in the Irish advertising industry after years of struggling to survive, a new survey showed today.

The 2014 IAPI Industry Census today shows an industry re-energised and seeking to diversify; a stark contrast to the cautious stance reported last year.

Of the 45 agencies that participated in the survey, 78pc estimate that turnover for the industry as a whole will increase in 2014 compared to just 20pc this time last year.

The positive sentiment translates to expected growth; the majority of agencies now envisage an average 13pc increase by year end. There is also a sense of vigour in the pursuit of new business opportunities both domestically and overseas. However, the level of investment involved in pitching for new business remains one of the key challenges for agencies. The relentless pressure from clients to lower hourly rates is also a concern.

On the upside, the industry is now hiring at pre-recession levels. Employment stands at 1,545 full time jobs. The census reports a 22pc increase in new hires by creative agencies last year (264 recruited). More than half of the agencies surveyed expect their staff levels to increase further this year. Ireland's advertising agencies are actively seeking talent. However, staff recruitment and retention remains a challenge. Agencies are finding that increased competition for skilled staff which in turn is leading to an increase in staff turnover.

As part of a bid to retain talent, in particular female talent, many agencies now offer some form of paid maternity leave. Encouragingly the report also found that a significant number of agencies also offer paternity leave. The industry also compares favourably with the composition of women on company boards. 25pc of those on industry boards are women, compared to the national rate of 13pc. The industry remains predominately young - the average age of an Ad man or Ad woman is now 35, 1/3 of all employees are under 30.

Commenting on the launch of the 2014 IAPI Industry Census, Orlaith Blaney, CEO McCannBlue Dublin and President of IAPI said; "The Census shows a marked improvement in optimism across the industry. It's encouraging that agencies are generally more positive in their outlook not just for their own agencies but for the industry as a whole. While there are undoubtedly real challenges to overcome, in particular the cost of pitching and retaining and recruiting talented staff, there are a lot of positives in this report. When Irish agencies look to opportunities in the future, many are addressing the changing landscape and are restructuring their businesses accordingly. All of our IAPI membership, media and creative agencies, are diversifying successfully into new areas and adapting their business models in line with the transformation of the communications agency market. There is immense value in the power of creative ideas and effectiveness that IAPI members deliver, in collaboration with their clients. IAPI ADFX 2014 will provide hard evidence of this effectiveness, when our industry showcases the strongest and most effective advertising in September this year."

Tania Banotti, IAPI CEO added, "IAPI's 2014 Census points to a transformation in the fortunes of Ireland's ad land. Not only have members witnessed an improvement in their own performance, they are also mush more bullish about prospects in the wider industry. Crucially, IAPI member agencies are also reporting returning confidence of advertisers and other indicators of growing customer demand."

For more visit: www.businessworld.ie