The future of top-five Scottish agency Barkers is hanging in the
balance after the departure of more than half its staff.
Barkers’ Scottish division, which operates offices in both Glasgow and
Edinburgh, now has just five employees compared with 24 a year ago.
Speculation has risen over the future of the consultancy’s Edinburgh
office following the recent spate of departures.
According to one source close to Barkers, the agency is ’on its knees’,
having lost almost 80 per cent of its employees to other agencies or
in-house roles in the last year.
Tony Arrowsmith, chairman of parent company Barkers Communications,
denied the Edinburgh bureau was on the brink of closure. He said:
’There’s no question of closing Edinburgh. On the contrary, we are
looking for senior staff. People move, but we’ll go on.’
Barkers board director Ilya Scott is the latest to leave the agency,
alongside account-handling colleagues Joanna Thompson and Claire
The three have left in recent weeks to form a breakaway agency based in
Glasgow, to be called Real PR.
Barkers PR MD Nevin McGhee said that while staff numbers are low,
employees will be working across the Edinburgh and Glasgow offices.
The agency’s Aberdeen office closed last February when its project-based
account with seven-year client Shell ended. An eight-strong team had
been working on the account.
Barkers PR - the PR arm of advertising and recruitment agency Barkers
Norman Broadbent - has held on to clients including Scottish Golf, First
Engineering and the Heritage Lottery Fund.