Over the past decade, there has been a significant shift in the marketing and advertising industry. More and more employees are choosing to leave agencies and take in-house marketing positions instead. This migration from agency to in-house is being driven by a number of factors that make in-house roles more appealing for many marketers.

The Data:

According to data from LinkedIn, in-house marketing roles increased by over 70% from 2011 to 2021, while agency/consulting roles increased by only 32% in the same period. Additionally, a 2021 study by Inhouse Agency Forum found that 69% of client-side marketers surveyed came from agencies originally.

Some specific statistics on the in-house shift:

  • In 2021, in-house marketers made up 58% of all marketing roles, compared to 42% at agencies/consultancies (The Creative Group)
  • 78% of client-side marketers say there are better career opportunities in-house vs. at an agency (Inhouse Agency Forum)
  • Over the past 5 years, marketing roles at brands/publishers have grown by 38%, while agency roles grew by only 5% (LinkedIn data)

The Benefits: Why In-House is Becoming More Appealing

There are several key reasons why in-house marketing positions are becoming more popular and providing a better overall experience for many employees:

More Work-Life Balance

One of the most cited benefits of in-house roles is a better work-life balance. In agency environments, long hours and weekend work are common as teams push to meet tight client deadlines. In a 2021 survey, 81% of in-house marketers said their work-life balance was better than at an agency.

In-house marketers typically work more traditional 9-5 schedules, with fewer late nights and weekends required. And without the pressure of utilizing employees across multiple client accounts, in-house teams tend to experience less burnout and exhaustion.

More Meaningful Work

Working in-house also allows marketers to feel more connected to meaningful work. At agencies, employees are creating campaigns and content for various client brands. While client work can certainly be interesting, it’s one step removed from the core business.

In-house teams get to focus on marketing initiatives that drive one brand’s business specifically. This allows in-house marketers to feel more invested in their work and like they have a real impact on the company’s success. Surveys show that 81% of in-housers find their work more meaningful than at agencies.

Career Growth & Learning Opportunities

For many, in-house roles also provide better career progression and learning opportunities compared to agencies. Rather than being siloed into a specific function like social media or design, in-house marketers often get exposure to broader aspects of marketing.

With closer access to cross-functional teams like sales, product, and CX, in-house marketers can better understand how marketing impacts all areas of the business. This leads to more well-rounded skill development and opportunities for management roles down the line.

Data shows that 66% of in-housers feel they have greater career opportunities compared to their time at agencies. And 72% say they have stronger networks thanks to cross-functional collaboration.

Competitive Salaries & Job Security

The data also shows that in-house marketing roles tend to offer better compensation. According to recent Dice Salary Survey data, the average in-house marketing salary is $119,000/year, compared to $110,000/year at agencies.

Additionally, taking a role in-house at one company provides more job security than working at an agency with multiple clients. If an agency loses a big client, layoffs are common. In-house teams are more insulated from this volatility.

During the pandemic and economic downturn, companies reduced agency contracts and projects, resulting in significant agency job loss. However, in-house marketing teams saw less cutbacks and turnover.

Better Company Culture & Values Alignment

Another intangible benefit that in-house roles provide is greater alignment with company culture and values. At agencies, employees are tasked with representing various clients whose values may or may not align. This can create internal conflicts.

When working in-house at one brand, marketers do not have to balance competing interests or represent companies that don’t match their own principles. This leads to greater job satisfaction. Surveys show 70% of in-housers say their company’s culture and values align more closely with their own compared to agency life.

The Future is In-House

Given the many benefits detailed above, it is no surprise that more agency employees are choosing to go in-house and Finding greater work-life balance, career growth, and job satisfaction. While agencies will always have a place in the marketing ecosystem, the trend towards brands building out internal capabilities is likely to continue.

The in-house model allows for tighter alignment between marketing efforts and business goals. It also provides better experiences for marketing professionals looking for more meaningful work and work-life balance.

As more data rolls in about the in-house shift, we will likely see companies continue to expand internal teams while agencies evolve their service offerings. For marketers considering a move in-house, there has never been a better time to explore available opportunities. The statistics and trends all point towards more fulfilling in-house roles and continued growth in this portion of the marketing industry.

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