“The Great Resignation” is looking to be a global trend. Agencies are facing a loss of qualified and experienced professionals, which is leading to a resource shortage with an added pressure of increased talent cost.

At the peak of the pandemic, the five big agency networks in aggregate cut staffing by 5.8% as organic revenue slumped 8.3%. Furloughs were also common, as were layoffs. Agencies have now started hiring again, only to find that job market dynamics have changed dramatically.

An average of 40% of employees across North America said in September 2021 that they are at least “somewhat likely” to quit within the next six months, with nearly two-thirds of those planning on leaving without a job (McKinsey). In Western Europe, OECD data shows that in its 38 member countries, about 20 million fewer people are in work than before the global pandemic. 14 million have exited the labor market and are classified as ‘not working’ and ‘not looking for work.’ Compared to 2019, 3 million more young people are not in employment, education, or training.

China is seeing its own version of the talent drain. A younger generation of workers are becoming disenchanted by their prospects, and this is leading to a shortage of skilled workers in the country’s tech industry. This poses a challenge for China’s leadership as it tries to steer the national economy toward more skilled sectors.

Highlights in this report:

  • Demographics leaving their agency jobs
  • Key reasons for departures
  • Talent retention strategies
  • How the talent drain impacts marketers and what they can do