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News 20 Jan 2022 - 1 min read

Talent crunch deepens across Australia's big media agencies, 500 vacancies, churn rising

By Staff writer
Linda Wong, People Director MFA

Linda Wong: "The pressing challenge for the industry now is the lack of talent to fill positions, compounded by the global talent shortage."

Australia's media agencies are 500 staff short, despite reporting record headcount. The situation is getting worse, latest data shows, with churn increasing by almost 50 per cent on last year as staff shrug off Covid uncertainty and seek new challenges.

What you need to know:

  • Despite record headcount, media agencies struggling to fill vacancies across the board.
  • Churn has surged, exacerbating supply-demand imbalance.
  • 500 roles remain open across sector.

Australia's media agency sector is employing more people than ever, almost 4,500 people, but still needs hundreds more workers to meet soaring demand.

Peak body the MFA, which represents the industry's larger agencies plus 14 independent shops, said its latest member census suggests they employ 4,412 people, up from pre-pandemic headcount of 3,902 in 2019. Meanwhile, the vacancy rate – the number of open roles – is 12 per cent, which means MFA members need to recruit more than 500 people to meet current demand.

The data suggests the situation is worsening, with churn surging from 23.3 per cent in 2020 to 34 per cent in the year to Sept 2021 as people shrug off Covid uncertainty and make changes to their working lives.

The association said talent shortages run across the board with more than half of vacancies at manager and executive levels.

MFA People Director Linda Wong said meeting the "pressing challenge" of keeping and finding staff will be the industry's key focus in 2022. 

Given the MFA tends to represent larger firms, the picture across the entire Australian media agency sector is likely to be worse. Smaller independent media agencies are also struggling to fill roles, with some indies now actively targeting rivals' staff and touting more flexible working arrangements in a bid to counter wage inflation.

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