When Western Australia's biggest advertising agency, Marketforce, advertised to fill 13 vacant positions at once in June, it wasn't the act of a firm leaking staff. Instead, according to chief executive John Driscoll, it was an indication of the growing trend towards organisations outsourcing marketing duties formerly done in-house. "We have noticed over a number of years some of our clients have had some difficulty in finding staff to fill some marketing roles and some of those roles they have delegated to us, which provides opportunities for us to grow our business," Mr Driscoll said. According to the WA Business News Book of Lists, Synovate is the biggest marketing agency in the state, followed by Antenna Business Development Agency and brainCells Creative Thinking Advertising and Design. The Marketing Centre managing director Michael Smith said the WA corporate marketing landscape is a limited development ground for industry professionals, as only a few large corporations dedicate a significant budget to it. "I think one of the main things that affect Perth in this regard is that there is not many places to really get the experience that makes you a highly capable senior marketing person," he said. "Big resources companies don't employ those kinds of people so much." Mr Driscoll said large marketing agencies could be appealing to marketing professionals because of the career opportunities they provided. "For some of our clients the marketing function in the organisation is not as obvious to some people. We are fortunate...that we are an organisation that provides with training with diversity of roles," he said. "And we're fortunate that having Marketforce on your resume is a positive thing." The Australian Marketing Institute WA president, Ashley Whitworth, said an in-house marketer had the opportunity to understand the business as a whole. "But it is a vicious circle in many respects, because companies need people to create that internal messaging...there's a question on how the role is sold and if the marketers are recognised enough as a major part of the business too," he said. "WA is made up of a high percentage of SMEs and resource sector companies means that for many emerging marketers the agency environment or blue chip marketing roles are the most attractive, as they appear to have more prospects."
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