Amazon’s decision to lay off some 10,000 employees follows the unceremonious ousting of thousands of employees at Twitter and Meta. The great technological gloom is there. In India, the startup winter has already led companies such as Byju’s and Unacademy to cut employee costs and freeze hiring.
While the tech slump appears to be far from over, some ad leaders believe the massive tech layoffs could be an opportunity for ad agencies to hire good talent that is now available in the marketplace.
Many startups in India have recruited mid to senior level employees who used to work in branding and creative to create their in-house creative teams and now that funding is drying up, these companies are cutting costs especially in the advertising and marketing expenses. and reduce their brand teams.
Saurabh Verma, the former CEO of Publicis Communications who now runs martech startup Wondrlab, recently posted on LinkedIn helping those who have lost their jobs.
“We can help. If you’ve been laid off, please DM. Some clients are considering CMO roles and we’re looking to build a world-class sales team ourselves for our WISR and Opportune platforms. If nothing else , we’ll do our best to help you in any way we can. It’s hard but we can get through it,” he wrote.
Verma declined to give further details on the initiative.
Talent influx, market correction
Shrenik Gandhi, co-founder and CEO of Mumbai-based digital marketing agency White Rivers Media, admits they have seen a good influx of talent in technology, marketing and partnerships.
“We already have solid conversations. Advertising agencies are generally a more stable place to work because being a heavy duty, asset light model, the risk of such scenarios is much less. Also, since most agencies work across multiple categories, the risk is further divided,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Pratik Gupta, co-founder of Zoo Media, owner of creative digital agency FoxyMoron, says this is the fix the ad industry has been waiting for. According to him, over the past four to five years, agencies have lost good talent as they have been poached at unparalleled prices by tech startups.
“I think a lot of people who have been recruited by big tech companies or startups have been paid top dollar regardless of their experience. So what he’s done for us over the last four or five years is he’s changed the market. I hope employers now have the ability to hire the right talent at the right price,” he notes.
According to industry estimates, big tech companies have hired people with a 200-400% increase because the talent pool is limited. A manager position in a digital agency earning around Rs 12-14 lakh per year could easily double the salary if hired by these startups.
“For senior talent that has been laid off, I don’t know if agencies are able to pay those laid off by tech companies at this point. A few may come from the agency side at leadership levels. Some of those who have been made redundant have been agency executives in the past, but it all depends on the right size, skills and intent,” says Schbang’s Harshil Karia.
“If clients reduced their ad spend, ad agencies would also lay off employees. However, the advertising industry generally does not subscribe to this notion. For example, 30% of our customers are unicorns and they have reduced our ad spend. It affects our business to some extent, but we will not lay off our employees. However, some startups have a hire and fire mechanism,” says Gupta.
Obviously, the unusual cost of employees has added up over the years and now is the time to correct the market.
Harshil Karia, founder of Schbang, shares that over the past few months they have seen great interest from people across the industry to get back on the agency side at all levels, which is a positive sign.
“At the operational, junior and middle levels, agencies are still seeing an influx of talent – in creative and technology. At Schbang, we see almost 50 new employees per month. Some of them come from tech companies, from the brand side and other agencies,” he notes.
Offer competitive salaries
It is expected that while junior and mid-level hires are most likely to occur after tech layoffs, senior-level hires could be rare and rare.
“For senior talent that has been laid off, I don’t know if agencies are able to pay those laid off by tech companies at this point. A few may come from the agency side at leadership levels. Some of those who have been laid off have been agency executives in the past, but it all depends on the right size, skills and intent,” notes Karia de Schbang.
Applicants will need to recognize that there is pay parity between the technology and advertising markets.
“Getting jobs at the same pay scale will be hard to come by in this market. However, I anticipate that many will opt for freelance or consulting roles,” notes Zoo Media’s Gupta.
Agencies will need to package salaries smartly and judiciously structure expected salaries into fixed and variable components, a manager at a digital marketing agency said on condition of anonymity.
Along with jobs, ad executives also believe that mentoring remains an area that needs to be actively promoted. Some leaders have stepped up to help those who have had to deal with job losses or increasing work pressure.
Prathap Suthan, co-founder of Bang in the Middle, recently took to LinkedIn to offer support and mentorship to anyone facing life’s pressures and challenges.
“I’ve been approached by a lot of people on LinkedIn. Sure, job-wise and otherwise, but I still believe there are so many others who are even afraid to approach me. When I was young in the industry I had people to mentor me and I want to reciprocate because young executives may not have access to the right kind of mentors,” he adds. .