Talent War – Why these industry figures moved to independent agencies

  • Date 1st August 2022
Talent War – Why these industry figures moved to independent agencies

AFFINITY’s Head of Media, Sue Cant joined our team of Bright Sparks last year after a lengthy career in network/holding company roles. She was recently profiled by AdNews in their article on the Talent Wars, a look at why increasing numbers are leaving the big agencies for indies. Read what Sue had to say below, and can read the full article here.

Contemplating a switch to an independent agency from a global holding group can be a little scary.

Will the opportunities for advancement be the same? Is the business sound? Will I have the same resources?

Those who’ve done it say the key skills are the same but that the reward is having a greater personal impact, making a difference, less bureaucracy and no day is the same.

One described it as more agile, like moving to a speedboat from a cargo ship.

Sue Cant, head of media, AFFINITY: “One of things I’ve learned to do better most recently and really value the most though (thank you AFFINITY), is just to stop and breathe, and take the time to actually think; something that can be hard to do in a bigger network when everything can be just like a conveyor belt; in and out with no time to actually stop and think.”

She went full circle across two countries, starting a media career at an indie in London, then moved into several holdcos.

She then travelled to the other side of the world to join a holdco, moved to another one and is now back into the indie agency world at AFFINITY.

“I’ve always loved the culture of a smaller agency, the ability to get involved in multiple aspects across a business, not be pigeonholed and defined just by a title or a role, and just generally the space to grow,” she says.

“Growth was a big reason for me leaving a holdco last year that I had been with for over five years.

“I was having that ‘groundhog day’ moment every day, where I felt I wasn’t learning new skills, I wasn’t developing and was in a bit of a holding pattern; so as much as it’s a cliché; I knew I needed a change and new challenges!

“AFFINITY has enabled me to grow so much in such a short amount of time. The concentration of senior talent and flatter structure you see at indies means we all get more exposure to an amazing diversity of thinking which fast tracks your growth so much more.

“It can be very daunting at times navigating a holdco, from both a politics and policies perspective. Or even just knowing who to reach out to for support in certain areas.

“I find that independent agencies do that very well, by nature they are smaller and therefore can be busier, but they support teams, you know who to talk with. It’s a bit more of a hivemind, you know that everyone is accessible, to help with those urgent issues, get together to workshop ideas, or even just to ‘chew the fat’, whether that be the People & Culture team, the CFO, the CEO or anyone in between.”

AFFINITY’s investment in People & Culture saw us take out top spot for Media & Marketing in this year’s AFR BOSS Best Places to Work rankings, plus Most Outstanding Wellbeing Practice overall. If you’re interested in working at one of the best places to work in Australia, take a look at our Careers page, or get in touch via email - we’re always looking for Bright Sparks to join our team.

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