Editor’s note: Chris Hubble is CEO of market research and consumer insights agency Bastion db5. Tim Anderson is a brand transformation expert and freelance brand strategist. 

From the Mad Men era to today’s creative zeitgeist, the advertising industry has experienced quite the transformation. The industry, the work it produces and its clients are frequently studied and discussed. Industry and cultural changes have also impacted ad executives and companies benefit from studying their employees just as closely. Delivering on employees’ wants and needs will help attract top talent, increase satisfaction, lead to better work, reduce turnover and have a positive impact on the bottom line. 

To get a pulse on how modern day ad agency employees feel in the current climate, and determine how the industry could evolve for the better on their behalf, we partnered to launch a research study focused on understanding:

Responses represent a diverse sample of agency types (advertising, marketing and PR) and sizes, as well as tenure, level (including C-suite), role and demographics.

The silver screen of ad agency life glamour seems to be slipping away for some. Many report feeling overworked, underappreciated and concerned about job security. But there are even more concerning issues we need to consider addressing.

Given the pandemic’s impact on nearly every business, we were curious how confident adverting employees were in the ad industry. Overall, 61% (top two box) of respondents report being “cautiously optimistic,” with 21% saying they’re “very confident” and 40% saying they’re “somewhat confident.” Still, nearly a quarter of respondents report being “not very confident” in the industry. Digging deeper, there are important differences across groups.

Respondents in marketing organizations are more confident than those in advertising or PR. People who work in large companies are less confident t...