Working in a Big Agency vs Small Ad Agency: Pros and Cons

Working in a giant and renowned ad agency may be a dream for most individuals who want to pursue an advertising career. And when imagining an advertising career, you might associate it with all the glitz and glam as movies and TV shows would depict.

However, advertising is more than just that. Like any other industry, an advertising career requires passion, hard work, and determination. And to top that, an Ad Week article once said that “No industry in the world enjoys self-flagellation quite as much as the advertising industry.”

Regardless of how big or small the ad agency is, pros and cons always exist. Below are some of the factors to at least think about a smaller ad agency, and a couple more reasons why you might be suited to a more prominent firm.

Workloads and Experience

In bigger advertising companies, you can get assigned to any department if you have the right work experience to back you up.

Meanwhile, with little to no experience in smaller agencies, there is a high chance that you will have more workload than intended — from receiving calls to social media managing and annual business reporting.

The pros: If you’re starting and planning to work at a big ad agency, it can be an excellent method to learn new things in the industry, build a portfolio, and determine your specific interests. That way, you will get a higher chance of focusing on preferred assignments since you now have sufficient background to back you up.

The cons: Since the industry that you are in can be particular with experience in the field, many employers wish to see deep portfolios that display a specific ability, so it might require time to construct it at a smaller sized agency.

To keep your portfolio robust and appropriate, you might need to consider extracurriculars, such as portfolio classes, workshops, or side hustles.


When you work in a small company, you will inevitably get familiar with your workmates.

The pros: Nearly no drama episodes. Your workmates may seem like your family. If you’re an introvert, you’ll value that you won’t have to schmooze or juggle many professional connections.

The cons: If the character fit isn’t dead-on with a small agency, it can be painful. Depending upon who you are, you might get bored or yearn for more social interactions.

Management and Administration

Most big agencies have multiple layers of management, which indicates that there are highly specific ways of doing things. This includes purchasing a brand-new style publication to changing your benefits and merely getting the signature line in your email altered.

Smaller companies generally make it up as they go along.

The pros: One word: flexibility. At corporate agencies, you need to arrange a single getaway day, weeks, or even months. Unlike larger agencies and networks where there’s an image of the president on the wall in the lobbyand best of luck obtaining that personat a small agency, you’re most likely sitting about 10 feet away from your manager.

The cons: Having No HR department could mean that the company follows no standard for conduct. If you’re employed by a company among the huge international giants and have a problem with the way somebody acts or the method of things are managed, there is no need to worry. In bigger agencies, there are standard procedures and protocols in hearing your sentiments and taking actions that can help you.

More prominent agencies tend to put a lot of thought into rolling out policies and initiatives. In comparison, smaller sized agencies might not have structured systems yet, which can indicate a sense of instability.

Quality of Life

Typically, small firms are founded by gifted but burnt-out people who have paid their fees and now want to continue their careers their way. These agencies most likely serve regional clients, which implies less time spent on travel.

The pros: You can have a work-life balance, consisting of making strategies throughout the week. Most small agency owners give importance to work-life balance. They do not like to work beyond the required shift themselves, so they won’t let their employees work beyond business hours.

The cons: Many people spend decades on the agency merry-go-round since it can be exhilarating. As you increase through the ranks in a big agency, you can get a shinier title, travel to huge cities, do advanced presentations to executives at Fortune 500 business, and even make commercials that countless individuals will see. If that’s what matters to you, you might require to want a prominent agency to experience this.

What everything boils down to:

It’s simple to assume that having a big “brand name” firm on your resume will open better doors for you. However, what will keep those doors open is having a book full of thoughtful, well-executed work. If you’re thinking about working in a small ad agency, keep an open mind and be sure you’ll get to do the sort of ingenious imaginative work that will impress your future creative directors. You may wind up loving it a lot if you choose to open your own agency one day.

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