Pringle, who will be 60 later this year, cites procurement and agency culture as the main reasons for a dearth of over 50s but also believes people in that age group are not entirely blameless.
On procurement, Pringle said: “Brands want their agencies to run tight, lean teams and are not willing to pay for experience. There is a constant battle to get agencies to cut costs so the more senior people are often the victims.
“Of course, there is a constant battle because it is not in the agency’s interest to get their work to market quickly. They want more time, because, for them, time is money.”
He also blames agencies for not sticking up for themselves. “Too many agencies simply roll over. They do not defend their senior people, and there is a culture – prevalent in many creative industries – that once people reach a certain salary they can be replaced by two, maybe even three, junior people.”
But he claimed many over 50s get complacent and do not bother to retrain or even hone their skills. “Too many think they know it all,” said Pringle. “Senior people are well aware of their limited ‘shelf-life’ yet fail to address the issue. It seems they consign themselves to their fate.”
The average age of employees in all IPA member agencies is 33.7 as it was in 2009. An estimated 45.5 per cent of the employed base is aged 30 or under, 35.7 per cent is aged 31-40, and 13.5 per cent is aged 41-50.
Other Census findings show first-year trainees accounted for an estimated 3.8 per cent of the employed base, up from 1.3 per cent in 2009. And in addition to payroll employees, it is estimated that there were 1,702 temps and freelancers working in member agencies on a regular basis compared with 886 in 2009.
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