Whether you are currently working at an agency or if you are part of a small in-house team, there are vast differences between the two. Heads up: the purpose of this blog post is not to say that either working at an agency or working in-house on the client side is better than the other, rather we want to give you the differences between both, the pros, cons, and some traits that can help you decipher which may be the best fit for you.
Knowing your client
One of the main differentiators between working for an agency rather than in-house is who your client is. When working in-house, you know everything about the company, from each department to the day to day office life of that company, all products or brands, if it’s an umbrella company, and more. Working for an agency provides a different outlook, as the brands are your clients. Depending on the size of the agency, each team can be working on around 6 to 10 clients on average. Rather than working with the same brand daily, your focus client can continuously rotate in and out depending on the contract and needs from the agency. While this allows for more variety day-to-day, it may also restrict you from fully knowing everything there is to know about the company or brand.
Keeping up with the clientele
If you are new in your field and don’t know the specific type of brand or industry you want to work for yet, an agency will provide you the opportunity to work with many different companies and on many different campaigns. Agencies can provide a great perspective on various industries and allow you to gain experience working on different strategies. Agency tasks tend to be more specific as there is usually a dedicated person assigned to each element of a campaign. When you’re in-house you may have the opportunity to wear multiple hats. When working at an agency your hours tend to be based on the campaign you’re working on and what stage it’s in because you’re always looking to win and keep clients. This might mean pulling long hours one week, and fewer hours the next. The schedule working in-house tends to be a bit more consistent but can still vary depending on the company/position.
Getting the experience
If you know exactly what industry or type of office culture you work best in, the agency vs client debate may not be one that you wrangle with. The good news is you don’t have to be married to the agency or client side. Many agencies look for candidates with in-house experience and vice versa. At the end of the day, neither agency nor client side is better nor worse, just different. Just as working with an agency over having an in-house team may be better for a specific brand or company, it all depends on what you as a job seeker are looking for in your day to day tasks, company culture, and brand.