The antipathy creative agencies have towards their media-buying brethren may have just been given some statistical merit.

A report released by the IPA shows that employment within UK media agencies increased by 50% between 2005-2015, while creative agencies witnessed a collective staff growth of just 30%.

This disparity is magnified when looking back more recently, over the last five years, where media agencies have seen a 30% growth in headcount, as compared to 10% within creative.

Despite it nipping at the heels, however, employment within the former (7122) still equates to roughly half that of the total working within the creative ad industry, which stood at 14, 780 last year – but that’s a decline of 0.7% on 2014 figures – the first drop in 10 years.

Overall, employment within IPA member agencies sits at a total 23, 662.

Measurable returns

What the stats would suggest is that acquiring ad inventory as efficiently and effectively as possible is becoming the chief concern for advertisers, with brands shifting budgets away from ad creative, instead favouring wider dissemination.

This is especially true in online, where performance advertising strategies, such as programmatic buying, offer guaranteed ROI and measurability with highly targeted placements.

In fact, programmatic advertising may well be the driving force behind these figures, with eMarketer predicting the channel could take as much as £1.8 billion in spend by the end of the year within the UK, accounting for more than half (59%) of the UK’s display market.

Gender diversity

It’s worth noting that the IPA’s report also identified an increase in the number of women holding senior positions within its member agencies, finding females to make up 27.3% of these roles, while holding 37.6% of executive management positions – up from 25.6% and 37.1% respectively in 2014. 

Media agencies do better again in this regard, with a female senior executive management ratio of 35.3%, as opposed to 23.8% within creative and other non-media agencies.