Independent or Network Agency, where does your future lie?

In many ways, the search for a new job in a creative agency is based on a series of decisions and one big one is – should I work for an independ…

Cogs Agency's Blog Post In many ways, the search for a new job in a creative agency is based on a series of decisions and one big one is – should I work for an independent agency or for a network? 

When it comes to choosing an agency to work for in London you’re spoilt for choice. We should know. Here at Cogs, we worked with over 140 of them last year from fresh start-ups to large international networks.

With nearly 10 years’ recruitment experience in the digital and creative industries, recruiting in every discipline and with offices around the world – we felt our data would produce an insightful picture of the market and may help you make that all important decision.

From the 737 fulltime roles we worked on in London, 319 (43%) were in Independent agencies versus 418 (57%) in Networked. The results of our survey show a fairly equal split and this is pretty significant because they appear at a time when the big groups are buying up independents, while brands are increasingly consolidating their budgets within a particular network or indeed growing their in-house expertise.

Despite these trends, it is clear independent agencies are still recruiting at a healthy rate. So, there is a good chance of securing a role in either sector.

Of course, whether a person is better suited to a role in an independent business or a network agency, is very much a matter of personal preference and choice. But it’s worth examining the principal differences between the two.

Network Agencies

Unsurprisingly, agencies owned by large-scale networks have access to bigger and better resources, which can provide for more structured training and development and, in some cases, more opportunities for promotion, not to mention awards. Networks are often given global work and agency of record status, which can mean high-budget projects and more influence on a brands overall communications strategy.

Independent Agencies 

In a smaller business, the working environment is frequently more flexible, which produces more exposure to complex tasks, earlier in your career. While structured training will probably be less abundant, you’re more likely to find a focus on learning through experience. And, with more immediate access to the agency’s senior people, there’s a greater opportunity to make a direct impact on the company’s development, culture, values and vision.

As a follow-up piece to this research, we’re pleased to announce we will be conducting a series of interviews with people working in both the independent and network sectors, to discover their feelings, opinions and perspectives. After all, when you’re making those important career decisions, it’s always helpful to know what others are thinking.

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