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With Asia’s staff churn problem set to worsen, is it finally time for a new model?

A recent report by specialist recruiters in the media and creative marketing sectors suggests that creative staff turnover in Asia is reaching epidemic proportions. In some markets, it said, turnover rates are approaching 40%.

Partly this attrition is borne out of an Asian marketing sector experiencing continuous change through the growth of ‘digital’. Online media and mobile has exploded, and many large companies are now building their own, dedicated internal digital teams often recruiting directly from existing agencies.

With such obvious dissatisfaction amongst staff perhaps it is finally time for advertising agencies in Asia, who are struggling to retain their top creative talent, to consider a different model; a model that gives the creative team more freedom, flexibility and control.

The outsourced creative model, where creatives become independent operators coming together to work on specific projects is not new, but it’s one that agencies in Asia seem loath to experiment with, despite it offering a way to keep creative staff motivated and connected.

And it’s a model that is much better suited to today’s multi-platform world. A world where the leveraging of technology is so much more important to marketing in Asia. By breaking down the traditional agency barriers, art directors and copywriters can collaborate with digital specialists and creative technologists to utilize new technology, and to create new ways of engaging and involving consumers.

As pioneers of this model for Asian marketing we know, from our own experience, that it is a way of working that appeals to a lot of creative people. And it’s our view that happy people produce better work and tend to stick around.

At the end of the day it comes down to trust. Most agencies marketing to Asia are still tied to a 20th century factory model of employment, and expect to see bodies sitting behind desks; otherwise who knows what those crazy creatives will get up to when they are left to their own devices.

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