ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; Are smaller agencies being priced out of the recruitment market?

In last week’s Platform, Charles Cook highlighted the dangers of top heavy salaries

In last week’s Platform, Charles Cook highlighted the dangers of top

heavy salaries

Zoe Biddick Biddick Associates

‘We have hired from Merrill Lynch and Citigate and are not finding any

difficulties. There is always a risk of bigger agencies poaching your

staff and we have even had staff moving into different areas such as

healthcare. But we reward at the market rate, give bonuses and pay on

merit. When you are running a business you have to get the balance


Nicola Fuller Larkspur Communications

‘There are too many companies chasing too few staff. Because of lack of

investment in training in the early 1990s there are lots of average

candidates who can be greedy and complacent. We find more stimulating

staff outside the traditional PR area. There’s a lot of headhunting

going on and it happens to us but that’s testament to the fact we have

good staff and invest in training. Not everyone wants to have to try to

fit into fixed hierarchies of bigger agencies.’

Richard Oldworth Buchanan Communications

‘Market forces prevail in financial PR just like any other business.

While there are some pretty fancy remuneration packages around at the

moment they usually reflect quality; the ability of an individual to

provide clients with a genuine added value service. If the client

dialogue is at a lower level it is unlikely that the client will be

paying fees large enough to merit the more highly-remunerated

practitioner, in which case the agency should staff the account


Addie Churchill Talk Loud PR

‘Large companies and in-house departments can offer more extensive

training and when it comes to pay it’s hard for a small agency to

compete. If one of my employees is offered double the salary to go, I

couldn’t match it without knowing that more business is coming in. But

small agencies provide more flexibility, so when it comes to job

satisfaction they win hands down.’

Tim Jackaman Square Mile Communications

‘The problem with bigger consultancies is that in order to keep all the

plates spinning they have to keep hiring more and more people, pushing

up their costs. The more entrepreneurial people realise there are real

opportunities in smaller consultancies to work closely with senior

people and learn from them, whereas less entrepreneurial people feel

more comfortable hiding behind a big name.’

The Big Question is edited by Lexie Goddard

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