Should I work agency side or client side?

If you’re a marketing professional with in-demand skills, you’ll likely at one point or another have pondered what’s better – agency side or client side. Each path comes with its own set of pros and cons, and understanding the nuances is pretty important for making an informed decision. Below, we will explore some of those pros and cons.

Let’s start with Agency Side


Diverse Portfolio Exposure: One of the key benefits of working on the agency side is exposure to a diverse range of clients and industries. This allows you to build a broad skill set and gain experience in various sectors.

Fast-Paced Environment: Agencies often operate in a dynamic and fast-paced environment, fostering creativity and adaptability. This can be appealing to professionals who thrive on challenges and enjoy working on different projects simultaneously. Of course, if you’re someone who doesn’t like surprises, this could be a draw back.

Networking and Social Opportunities: Agencies work with a variety of clients and partners, so there are often networking or social opportunities and awards ceremonies. Building a robust professional network can open doors to new clients, projects, and career advancements.


Tight Deadlines and Pressure: Depending on your personality style, the fast-paced nature of agency work can also be a downside, as tight deadlines and high-pressure situations are common. There are often last-minute changes so balancing multiple projects simultaneously can lead to increased stress levels if you’re not used to it.

Limited Control over Projects: While agencies offer exposure to diverse projects, you may find yourself with limited control over the direction of the work. Client demands, opinions, policies and expectations can sometimes restrict creative freedom so you might not always agree with the finished product.

Client Turnover: Client turnover is a fact of life in agency land, which can be a factor in job stability.  Client-side professionals may enjoy more stability as they work within a single organisation.

And now, let’s look at Client Side


Deeper Industry Knowledge: Working on the client side typically means you’ll develop a deep understanding of an industry, allowing you to become a specialist in a particular field. This specialisation can lead to increased job satisfaction and expertise. (Of course, it can lead to pigeonholing yourself too in some respects).

Long-Term Project Involvement: Client-side roles often involve working on long-term projects, allowing you to see the impact of your work on the business over an extended period. This can be rewarding for those whose personality means they seek a sense of accomplishment.

Stability and Job Security: Working directly for a company provides a level of stability and job security that agency roles may not offer. This can be particularly appealing to individuals seeking a consistent work environment. That said, there are no guarantees wherever you go. Agencies can often redeploy skills to other accounts whereas a single business suffering in a down turn may not have that option available.


Limited Variety in Work: Unlike working at an agency, on the client side you may find yourself working on projects within a narrower scope. This lack of variety can be less appealing to individuals who thrive on diversity in their work.

Slower Decision-Making Process: Organisations often have more extensive decision-making processes, which can slow down project timelines. If you prefer a faster-paced, let’s get it done environment you may find this frustrating.

Less Networking and Social Opportunities: While client-side roles may offer stability, they often provide fewer networking and social opportunities compared to agency positions. Depending on your personality though, you may see this as a positive; not all of us love networking!

Ultimately, the choice between agency side and client side depends on individual traits, personality, career goals, and work style. It’s worth carefully weighing up the pros and cons outlined here, examining how each fits with what you know about yourself. It’s a pretty important choice so it could be worth talking to people in the industry or a friendly recruiter to see what they have to say. Something else you can do is take our Career Match quiz. In five minutes, you’ll receive a customised report, that will shed light on your personality and preferences and which side of the fence you’ll most likely thrive on.

Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash


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