This bulletin is designed to update agencies and candidates of the region’s latest trends. The area is a hotbed of agency talent, and we want to raise the profile of the great agencies and people here.


(1)    The M4 & Thames Valley region is a hotbed of agency life, with almost two hundred agencies

It’s easy to overlook the sheer size of the region’s agency market. Our research reveals that there are one hundred & eighty eight agencies operating in the area. That’s higher than most people realise. We’ve excluded one or two-man bands and have no doubt there’ll be agencies we’ve missed. While the national media focuses on London’s creativity our research suggests that Bristol is an agency hotspot and there are good sized agencies everywhere in the region.


(2)    Twenty per cent increase in agency vacancies during February

The positive news for candidates is that the total number of vacancies increased month on month in January. While this number may be unqiue to us, it seems a certainty that overall the demand for agency talent rose again. At Colloco Search, we saw a bias towards account handling vacancies.


(3)    An increase in Creatives seeking freelance assignments. A sign of increased candidate confidence?

We saw an increase in designers wishing to make the switch to freelance. Typically, this type of trend is associated with a strong employment sector, or one where companies don’t wish to commit to permanent headcount. Interestingly, the freelance market for account handlers remained small.


(4)    A higher number of new candidates flagging work life balance considerations

In February there was a significant increase in candidates specifying a reasonable work life balance as a criteria in their career search. This suuggests that those agencies that promote flexible working may hold an advantage.


(5)    Adequate candidate preparation is viewed as mandatory by agency interviewers

Even in a candidate led market, candidates must allocate adequate prep time and research into the agency they’re interviewing at. Nothing seems to go down as badly as candidates not knowing the basics. Our advice to candidates is that every interview is a one-off experience and the interviewer needs to quickly gain an understanding of why you’re interested and why your skills & experience are relevant.


(6)    2017 agency hiring plans within the M4 & TV region remain bullish, despite some Brexit concerns

Several agencies expressed concern at some marketing budgets possibly being squeezed due to Brexit consequences. The economic implcations appear to be benign at present but ITV have just attributed a decline in TV advertising revenue to Brexit. Having said this, we did not come across one agency during February reconsidering their headcount plans. 2017 is expected to be another positive year for agencies within the region.


(7)    Sammy Mansourpour, founder of AgencyUK, has called for industry bodies to investigate new training opportunites

Within our “IN THE SPOTLIGHT” interview, Sammy commented on the opportunity for industry bodies to play a bigger part in helping agencies train and skill people. Many people now enter the agency world without the classic marketing education & job training.


(8)    More senior agency candidates registered in February 

We saw an increase in senior agency people wishing to discuss opportunities within the area. It’s hard to make any judgement on one month’s sample other than to say these people expressed confidence in the market.


(9)    The market for Account Managers is highly competitive

An individual with two years Account Manager experience is likely to enjoy a number of agencies who’ll be interested. Many agencies in the region are under resourced at Account Manager level and this competition is likely to result in AM salaries increasing, unless supply picks up.


(10)    Independent agencies are moving quicker to hire new people

Agency clients who ask us for hiring advice receive a consistent message. No matter the role, those agencies that move quickly have a better chance of attracting their preferred candidates. In February we saw a noticeable difference between the speed independent and network agencies would progress from interview to offer.


For more information please contact Ben Vickers, Partner, Colloco Search

0118 9507 9389