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

When first embarking on your digital career, deciding between working for a digital agency vs in-house can be a toughie. You may even find yourself much further down the line wondering if the grass might be greener on the other side of the fence?

If you find yourself in either of these situations, this article is for you. We look at the pros and cons of being employed by a company vs external agencies. Hopefully, it will help you decide which one you might be more suited to.

Make Wise Choices Early in Your Digital Career

Accepting an unsuitable job at any point in your career can do untold damage to your CV. Too many moves in a short space of time can result in you acquiring the label ‘job hopper’.

As you get further down the line in your career, you will likely develop a proven track record that demonstrates loyalty. A solid work experience record can make it much easier to recover from bad career decisions. However, without that proven loyalty, too many job changes can make employers wary of hiring you. Make too many mistakes and the job offers may begin to dry up.

That’s why you must do your research and keep your options open for as long as you can until you’re confident you’ve found your ideal role.

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?

As an example, let’s imagine you’re looking for your first job as a Digital Marketing Assistant. As far as the job title and salary go, you may not notice much difference between the job adverts you see for agency and in house positions. In fact, just by reading the job descriptions, it might be difficult to tell which job ads belong to businesses or agencies.

It’s not until you start doing the job that you realise that you may find that you either love or hate your job. It won’t be until you chat to your ex uni mates to find out how their jobs are going, you begin to realise the difference. Or at least you will if they work on the opposite side of the industry to you. So let’s dive in and look at the main differences between the two.

Differences Between Working for a Business or Digital Agency


The thing is, digital skills are in extremely high demand, right across the globe. Therefore, companies must set salaries at a level that will attract the standard of applicant they require.

Of course, some businesses may try advertising at a lower rate, to begin with, if they wish to try their luck. Although, this is just as likely to happen within a digital agency as in any other type of business.


Within a Business

Working for an Agency

For example, you might be more likely to attend relevant conferences if your company has a stand there. You might even find yourself at a glitzy award ceremony if your team receives a nomination for a project.

At the very least, you may find a well-stocked beer fridge in your office. Just keep in mind that this is likely to be used as a sweetener to persuade you to work late on a Friday. For example, if a deadline is due for completion by Monday.

Job Descriptions

Within a Business

No matter the business’s size, you will only work on its products or services when working for a company. Therefore, you are more likely to have involvement in the full range of digital marketing activities. For example, from building an in-house brand, developing its digital marketing strategies to publishing individual campaigns.

Working for an Agency

In a large agency, the Social Media Team may be broken down further by various social platforms such as; Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Alternatively, they might split the job responsibilities by Paid Social and Organic Social.

From a company’s perspective, it is often cheaper to hire an agency to manage their social media accounts than hire an in house specialist.

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


Within a Business

Some people become easily bored working on the same thing day-in-day-out and need more variation. While others find great reassurance in the stability this style of work creates.

Working for an Agency

Working Hours and Time Off

Within a Business

Recently, the coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on employers attitudes to home working solutions. Since we have been forced into a situation where we had to work from home, they now realise the benefits.

Working for an Agency

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

Even within smaller organisations where one person does the marketing, the work you produce will likely be under more scrutiny.

Working for an Agency

The flip side of this is that agencies often have strict KPIs or service level agreements, which employees must meet for each client. Under these circumstances, everyone working on the project understands what the agency expects of them. On the other, some individuals find working to strict targets and deadlines stressful.

Career Progression

Within a Business

The opposite can also be true in larger organisations, though. For example, working for a multinational organisation can present exciting opportunities for travel abroad to other offices. Having experience working within different cultures around the world can certainly bring a new dimension to your CV.

Working for an Agency

If you’re the kind of person who is willing to put their hand up for new projects and extra responsibilities, you will likely progress quickly in an agency. However, if you’re shy about your achievements and just like to get on with your job, you may go further in a regular business.

Company Culture

Within a Business

For example, many large organisations now have a Corporate Social Responsibility policy. Where a company has this in place, they are more likely to offer time off for charitable work.

Working for an Agency

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

Working for an Agency

Which is Best for You?

If you find you have a clear preference as to whether you would like to work at one or the other, it might be worth speaking to a recruitment consultant. They work with many different clients, on both the agency side and client side. Therefore they are better placed to give impartial advice and can match you with jobs that are better suited to your personality.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store