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Generating employee review insights about US marketing agencies

The ‘great resignation‘, the ‘great attrition’, the ‘big quit’, the ‘great reshuffle’ and even the ‘lying flat movement‘. These descriptions of the post-pandemic labor market attempt to capture a mass of resignations, retirements and the battle to hire. However, the picture beyond these buzzwords is more nuanced, which is why we turned to employee review insights to find out more.

Companies are finding it more difficult to hire the right people, and therefore are tailoring their offerings to attract the right staff – as well as retain employees who might be eyeing other businesses’ generous offers. Marketing agencies are a great example of this challenge, because with a plethora of competitor agencies – and in-house positions – available for marketers to work at, agencies are having to develop creative strategies to find and keep hold of the best people.

One key resource candidates will use when job searching is a Glassdoor rating and its accompanying reviews. This snapshot into agency life could be the difference between someone choosing your company over another. However, these reviews are often made up of former employees with an axe to grind. This can make it hard for you to determine which feedback to act on, and how it relates to your competitors.

Enter Relative Insight Explore. Our competitive intelligence software uses comparison to put employee reviews into context – surfacing the most relevant insights for your organization. This comparative methodology eliminates any bias from the text analysis process, meaning that all information uncovered is a true reflection of the topics, grammar, phrases, words and emotion reviewers have used.

We used text analytics to compare US employee reviews for three marketing agencies/groups with similar Glassdoor ratings: Weber Shandwick (3.9*), Omnicom (3.9*) and WPP (3.7*). This competitor comparison highlights the insights Glassdoor offers when using the right text analytics tool.

Glassdoor insights highlight culture and clients at Weber Shandwick

Two aspects of Weber Shandwick’s employee reviews shone through from our analysis: culture and clients.

Reviewers were 2.8x more likely to discuss the agency’s culture when compared with its competitors. While these conversations featured both positive and negative sentiment, it’s clear that Weber has a much more clearly defined culture when compared with WPP and Omnicom.

Very entrepreneurial culture, lots of room to create a path for yourself opportunities, but not always clear based on where you sit in the network.

Weber Shandwick employees were also 8.7x more likely to use the word ‘clients’, highlighting that the brands and accounts professionals work on is a key facet of the agency’s offering. Working on campaigns for household names is an attractive part of working for the agency, with reviews 5.4x more likely to use the word ‘opportunity’ when discussing its clients.

Opportunity to work with high profile brands and access to a global network. Tight bandwidth. Most people work on several different clients at a time.”

Big agency with big clients to work on.”

Glassdoor review insights show Weber Shandwick employees' focus on clients

WPP staff talk about their leaders and make competitor comparisons

Our Glassdoor review insights revealed that WPP employees will talk about their leaders. They were 1.8x more likely to highlight leadership, both in a positive and negative light, with the lack of diversity in the agency’s senior leadership team also inciting debate.

Under Mark Read’s leadership, a much different company and proud to work there.

No one in leadership is black and they keep hiring more white people to replace previous white people.

Marketing professionals’ propensity to jump from agency to agency is part of what makes it challenging to retain talent in the sector. However, it also gives them a clear basis for comparison, having worked at multiple agencies. This is certainly the case for WPP employees, who were more inclined to compare their experience with previous agency roles – they were 3.8x more likely to use the word ‘other’ to highlight the contrasts between the two.

Worked normal hours, better than other agencies.”

“Good working environment and work life balance. Low pay compared to similar positions in other places.

Competitive intelligence software reveals reviews and hours are Omnicom pain points

When it comes to Glassdoor review insights gleaned from Omnicom employees, reviews and hours of work are recurring topics.

While employees were positive about many aspects of working at the agency, they were 6.2x more likely to use words relating to ‘reviews’, as well as being infinitely more likely to use the word ‘review’ (meaning this did not appear at all in Weber Shandwick or WPP’s reviews). They highlighted the lack of reviews for one reason: dollars.

They were 3.9x more likely to mention ‘salary’ and infinitely more likely to use the word ‘increase’. This highlights that the lack of annual reviews means that it’s difficult for professionals to secure a raise.

Stability. Large company. Great ppl. No annual review or opportunities for a raise.”

I wouldn’t ever expect a salary increase year. During my two years working here, I never even received a performance review. No performance review = no salary increase.”

Omnicom employees discuss reviews and pay in competitor comparison

Discussions about hours of work and work-life balance also over-indexed when compared with WPP and Weber Shandwick. Omnicom employees were 4.2x more likely to use the word ‘long’ in reference to the hours which they worked.

People are great to work with the hours tend to be long.”

Great place to learn the basics of media and be exposed to the worlds biggest brands. No work life balance. Work too many long hours and can be spread thin on multiple accounts at the same time.”

Competitor comparison unearths insights from reviews

Using our competitive intelligence software, we’ve found key differences in Glassdoor reviews at large US marketing agencies which could have a real impact on their staffing strategies. Despite the three agencies having similar ratings, our comparison has surfaced clear differentiators between the three.

For Weber Shandwick, highlighting the big brands that employees will be able to work with should be a key part of its hiring strategy. The agency should also emphasize its distinct culture, while ensuring that it addresses why it can be viewed negatively by some employees.

Omnicom needs to be aware that its lack of performance reviews – and static pay – could be a turn off to both current employees and prospective staff reading Glassdoor reviews. It should also look to address challenges surrounding work-life balance and long hours. Given many other aspects of its reviews were positive, tweaking these pain points would bring the positive feedback to the fore.

Based on these review insights, WPP should improve diversity in its senior leadership team to make itself more attractive to a diverse talent pool. The agency would also be wise to conduct a full competitor analysis to ensure it compares favorably to other agencies, given its employees will be doing the same.

Failing to attract talent or retain your current employees is costs time and money. Conducting qualitative text analysis of employee reviews to hone your talent attraction and retention strategies is a vital way to outpace your competitors.

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