Jan 23, 2007

The Great Drift Downwards

Time was when advertising executives—creative directors, higher up accountniks and the like—made a very good living. With salaries that allowed them to live amongst doctors, lawyers and bankers. Those days seem to rapidly be drawing to a close, and (self-interest) aside, we’re at a loss to understand why.

Every headhunter I’ve spoken to recently has mentioned this trend to me, so it’s not a figment of Toadian imagination. Part of this, I’m told is a result of the lower salaries paid by interactive agencies. The gradual shrinking of the actual number of big agencies (e.g. shops with the wherewithal to pay the big salaries) is another part, as is pressure from holding companies like WPP and Omnicom to keep the numbers down.

All this does however, is drive more and more people from the business. As a junior, the idea of one day pulling down a $300K/year salary was one of the things that kept me going. But now that CDs are looking at salaries as low as $175K, juniors are asking themselves if it’s really worth it and the answer is usually “no.” (These are NYC #s I’m quoting)

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