Digital Agency Vs In-House: Where are the Best Digital Jobs?

Make Wise Choices Early in Your Digital Career

Leaving university is a super exciting time of your life! So much so that many graduates neglect to do enough research into that all-important first move. Of course, the prospect of earning their first proper grown-up salary is exciting! However, this often tempts newly qualified grads into jumping at the first offer they receive without adequately researching the alternatives.

Girl playing herself at chess
The best candidates always think about where their next career move will take them long term.

What is Meant by Agency Side vs Client Side?

The only people who refer to working ‘client side’, as such, are individuals who work for agencies. People who work for companies don’t really see themselves as anything other than regular employees doing a job. Of course, people who work in agencies are regular employees too, only the way they do their jobs tends to be very different.

Differences Between Working for a Business or Digital Agency

Salary

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s unlikely you will find much difference between advertised salaries whether they’re for a business or an agency.

Benefits

Within a Business

Well established businesses typically offer more traditional benefits such as health insurance, life cover, free gym membership, childcare, enhanced maternity provisions etc. This is often due to the nature of their business. For example, an insurance company would be more likely to offer reduced rates to their staff.

Working for an Agency

Agencies try to keep running costs to a minimum so that they can price their services competitively. This usually results in offering fewer traditional benefits to their employees. However, working in this kind of environment often comes with other perks that you don’t feel in your pay packet.

Job Descriptions

Within a Business

There are considerable variations in job roles and responsibilities from one company to the next, even within regular businesses. For example, small tech start-ups may only employ one Digital Marketing Manager responsible for all their marketing efforts. Whereas a large corporate organisation might employ an entire in-house marketing team.

Working for an Agency

An agency team will have well-defined functions that will each have their specific roles, such as, Content Marketing, Social Media Executive, Email Marketing Specialist etc. However, within an agency, the Social Media Executive may manage the social media accounts for up to ten different companies.

Workers in formal office attire in a corporate environment
Some people find comfort and order in a corporate environment with well-defined rules.

Regularity

Within a Business

When you work within a business, you must remain loyal to your employer and work only for them. The longer your employment lasts, the deeper understanding you will have of the intricacies and peculiarities that make your company unique. Over time, you will become an expert in managing company processes, which can be an extremely valuable skill.

Working for an Agency

In an external environment, you must divide your attention between the work you do for many clients. The clients you work with can change and often with very little notice. Being exposed to such a variety of different projects can be exciting and provide new challenges daily. However, some people find this level of variety quite stressful to manage and hard to keep up with.

Working Hours and Time Off

Within a Business

Being employed by a company traditionally provided workers with a more stable work-life balance. The hours were more likely to be full-time, 9 am — 5 pm, Monday to Friday with standard holiday allowance. Remote working and flexible working solutions were largely unheard of, and any requests were often refused by HR.

Working for an Agency

The majority of creative agencies seemed to have a more relaxed attitude to remote and flexible working. However, the flip side of this is that agency workers are sometimes expected to work longer hours. For example, if a project is nearing completion and a deadline needs to be met, all team members must pull together to satisfy the client.

Agency workers socialising after hours in the office
Creative agencies tend to be fun places to work but that can result in you spending more time at the office after hours.

Level of Autonomy

Within a Business

Companies tend to be more strict about the way they do things internally. For example, within large corporations with marketing teams, every piece of work they produce must adhere to brand standards. In this scenario, your work will often need submitting for approval before a manager signs it off.

Working for an Agency

In this kind of working environment, you are likely to have more autonomy as long as you get the job done. Each client will still have its own set of brand standards to follow. However, as long as that client is happy with your work, they usually give you the freedom to get on with it.

Career Progression

Within a Business

Companies tend to have more explicit guidelines and a better structure regarding performance reviews and career progression. That said, in a smaller company, there may be fewer job roles for you to progress into.

Working for an Agency

In an environment where you have exposure to various clients and projects, your skill sets are likely to grow more rapidly. That said, the work you do is more likely to be localised in one area. For example, your work may focus on one specific marketing channel. However, you will likely learn all the tools in the box and become a specialist in that niche.

Company Culture

Within a Business

Corporate environments tend to be more stringent about what goes on inside their office walls. However, these attitudes are changing as businesses realise that they need to create a positive company culture and a strong employer brand to attract top talent.

Working for an Agency

Agencies tend to have a more work-hard-play-hard attitude. Their workplace culture is often driven by the success of the work they do for their clients. As a result, agency life’s pace is fast and exciting for some, whereas others find this puts them under too much pressure.

Digital agency team mates hi-five each other
Digital agency environments are often designed to encourage collaboration and creativity, which makes them a fun place to work.

Working Environment

Within a Business

Corporate environments have a reputation for being functional and unimaginative. Although, employers realise the need to create more inspiring workspaces, particularly for their creative teams.

Working for an Agency

Agency workspaces are often designed with creativity and collaboration in mind. Therefore you are more likely to find funky breakout areas with gaming consoles and pool tables in these environments. The trade-off is that you may find yourself spending more time in the breakout area after hours.

Which is Best for You?

One working environment is not better than another; it’s just a matter of personal preference. Only you can decide whether you would be better suited to working for an agency vs in house marketing team. After reading this article, we hope you have a better idea of what the two different environments are like and which suits your personality.

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Rachael. Adria Solutions

Rachael. Adria Solutions

Hi there! I’m Rachael, Marketing Manager at Adria Solutions Ltd. Read more about me here: https://www.adriasolutions.co.uk/blog