DIGITAL and design agencies are facing the fallout of the UK’s faltering economic recovery, according to a survey today.
The Design Industry Voices survey of almost 500 agency staff paints a picture of the squeeze being experienced by small firms in the private sector as public sector budget cuts begin to bite and economic confidence fails to recover.
It found that 85% of firms have clients who expect more work from agencies for less money, 71% say clients more work in pitches for free and(82%) say client budgets have been reduced.
More than half of agencies have cut permanent staff numbers and are making more use of freelancers while more than two-fifths are making greater use of unpaid interns.
The survey by business transformation specialist Fairley & Associates also showed that 58% of staff working for design and digital agencies intend to change job in the next 12 months while more than a third have been with their agency less than a year.
People working in digital and design agencies say they are feeling the brunt of the long, slow recovery. Fewer than one in five respondents consider that their agency is performing “very well” in terms of helping employees to manage stress, rewarding people for extra effort or providing “appropriate” workloads.
Rachel Fairley, lead author of the new research and managing director of Fairley & Associates, said: “Digital and design agencies appear to be running on empty.
“Clients expect more work for less money to make up for budget cuts. Staff have disengaged – they are overworked, undervalued, and fed up of poor leadership. More of them than ever intend to change job within twelve months with far-reaching consequences in this uncertain economic climate.”