As agencies face a talent crunch, they are re-evaluating their recruitment and retention efforts.

U.S. businesses are facing a talent crunch.

As of May 31, The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded nearly 9.2 million job openings, and nearly two in three consulting firms say they’re short-staffed, according to Bloomberg News.

Creative and media agencies, which laid off thousands of people during the pandemic, are now desperate to fill openings as clients start to spend again. Volatility in the U.S. job market is impacting the sector, said Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO at 4A’s, which has shared guidelines with agencies for addressing the talent shortage.

“People are in a very different situation than they were pre-COVID and now employees are empowered,” she said. “They want flexibility and benefits, and as a result, companies have to think differently about how to motivate and engage people.”

The 4A’s has hired Temitayo Jegede as director of talent solutions to support its members with hiring and is working with regional HR committees to upskill staff. The organization is also launching a freelancer portal for agencies looking for talent on a project-basis.

But it’s not just the labor shortage that’s leading to turnover in adland. Bill Kolb, chairman and CEO at McCann Worldgroup, said people may have exited the industry in search of “a more stable job” without having to worry about the “peaks and valleys of the agency business” after experiencing massive layoffs last year.

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