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In-house vs Agency experience

Discussion in 'Design Jobs & Employment Forum:' started by Mythical, May 11, 2012.

  1. Mythical

    Mythical New Member

    What's better for the CV?

    If you were offered two jobs -
    1. for a small agency, offering a low salary, and the promise of a review later on, but is closer to home, and give you the all important "agency experience" that every employer wants,

    2. in-house, at the continental headquarters of an international company, offering at least £4k a year more than the agency, maybe even £6k more, but it's alot further from home and obviously comes without the coveted "agency experience".

    You verbally accepted the agency offer first and bigCorp immediately whacked £2k onto your starting salary.

    which would you take?
  2. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    Agency experience is seen as better if ultimately that is where you want to work long term or at least in the future.

    Depends how good the agency is - if its well respected in your area and you like the look of the work they do (and you will be getting enough money to live on) then it could be worth getting that experience.

    Try to negotiate a good starting salary though as often you might be promised a review but then might not get it or its less than expected. Ultimately the business want you to agree to work for as less as possible. It depends how much experience you have got yourself - you do need to earn some experience before you can ask for over a certain amount. More junior people need to prove themselves first so it would be a great place to do this by working in a design agency.
    Mythical likes this.
  3. pcbranding

    pcbranding Member

    If you're young and starting out I'd take whichever 'feels' better (people/environment/facilities).
    I'd recommend having both kinds on your CV in the long term. If you're just starting out, it's better to learn the ropes of one brand (in-house) and then move on to an agency. If the money is important then the decision has been made for you.
    I've been employed both in-house and at an agency and both have their merits. My in-house employment had massive variation of projects and specific departments (corporate, packaging, visual merchandising etc.) to work in and I learned a lot. My agency time was probably more creative, but less time on any project and less involvement in the final brand's values/styles/corporate identity etc. as you moved on to the next job once that one had finished.
    Mythical likes this.
  4. spottypenguin

    spottypenguin Active Member

    I am almost identical to that. Both definitely have their merits and in-house is a great foundation for your career especially if it is a well known, large scale company - no agency is going to sniff at that experience in the future
    Mythical likes this.
  5. Mythical

    Mythical New Member

    I actually have about six years in-house experience, over two different jobs, but I have been able to work on different "brands" within each company and in once case for a few of the director's golfing buddies. I'm 30, so not all that young, but not quite past it yet! (I hope).
    While there are certain agencies I'd actually walk over broken glass to work for, most I could take or leave (and the ones I'd rip my feet open for probably wouldn't have me!) Prestige doesn't impress me, but I do want to feel valued as a member of the team and I do want to feel that the company has respect for it's clients (both sadly lacking where I am now)

    Money is important, but other things are important too.
  6. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    In my experience in-house jobs offer a slightly higher starting salary but there's little progression so you will always be on that salary (unless you want to hang around till the studio manager retires). Creative agencies offer lower starting salaries for juniors but the experience gained is seen as better quality by the industry. In 3 years time you'll have the all important 3 years agency experience and can go where you like and start earning an ever increasing wage. I think it's generally expected that creative agency designers chop and change agencies quite frequently within their careers in search of that prestigious client list and bigger wage.

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