Career /Where should I work?! The pros and cons of different workplaces

Where should I work?! The pros and cons of different workplaces

Creatives are pretty lucky. Due to the nature of the work, they have the opportunity to work in all different types of places, whether that’s in tech/startups, independent agencies, multinational agencies or in-house/brand side across a variety of industries.

So if you’ve been thinking about making a change but aren’t sure what workplace is right for you, keep reading. We’ve done the grunt work for you and have come up with a list of the pros and cons for the different types of workplaces that creatives tend to frequent.



A small group of people coming together to create something really freaken cool? Sounds like a startup to us!


  • There’ll only be a few of you, so you’ll build great relationships and become super close with your co-workers.
  • The exciting thing about working in a startup in particular is that you get to work on something awesome from the ground up. You can say 10 years later, “I helped create that!” – not many people can make that type of claim.
  • You’re all there because you’re passionate about what you’re doing. This passion will help shape the workplace and the culture to make it a place where others will want to work too.


  • Tech and startups tend to have long hours, particularly in the early days when you’re trying to get it off the ground.
  • In the early days of startups, people tend to give absolutely everything to their work because that’s what needed to break into the market – they live and breathe the startup, which isn’t overly healthy.
  • This one can be a pro or a con – you’ll end up wearing lots of hats. If you like variety, learning new skills and working on different things, it’s a pro. But if you’re a product manager and only want to be working on that, then it’s definitely more of a con.


Independent agencies

Want to work with a small team of creatives on a variety of small clients? Emphasis on the word small here – if you don’t want to be working on things too large scale, an independent agency may be the way to go.


  • It’s larger than a startup but you’ll still be a part of a tight knit group of people, so you get a good feel for how everyone likes to work.
  • They’re a great learning experience. Because they tend to be small, everyone contributes, including the MD and more senior staff – so you’ll learn tons working alongside them.
  • Variety is definitely the spice of life at an independent agency – you’ll be doing different things for different clients, so no two days are ever the same.


  • Independent agencies have less resources than larger agencies. Without the backing and finances of a big business, they may struggle to do the insanely big, viral campaigns – which also means, less awards come awards season.
  • You’ll tend to get smaller clients at an independent agency. Generally large clients go to the multinational network agencies that have the resources to get the coverage they need.
  • If you don’t want to be too involved with your colleagues or want some anonymity, an independent agency isn’t the place to be. You’re going to know absolutely everything about them.


Multinational network agencies

These are the big boys of the agency world. They work on big accounts, do exciting things and go hard or go home.


  • They have resources galore. Massive resources equals massive clients and this means that you’ll get to work on some really awesome campaigns and put your mark on them. If they go viral, all the better!
  • They’re great if you enjoy socialising, going out to events and utilising the perks that come from working with really large clients.
  • Want to move overseas? Definitely not a deal breaker. If you’re part of a multinational agency, they might have offices in London, New York or Berlin and transferring across is much better for them than having you leave entirely and having to hire someone new.


  • It’s easy to get lost and you may end up feeling like a cog in the wheel, rather than an individual.
  • These agencies work at a super fast pace. You’ve got to keep all the plates spinning in the air and be incredibly responsive to a client’s needs. This also means you may end up working long hours.
  • Career advancement can take some time. When you’re competing against so many other people for a promotion, you may see others race ahead of you.


In-house/brand side

It’s easy to understand why so many creatives are keen on in-house/brand side. It’s nowhere near as busy as an agency, you get great work-life balance and if you land the perfect role, you could be working for an awesome brand – what’s not to love?


  • By only working on one brand, you get to know the brand inside out. You become the expert. It helps you develop a really in-depth strategy, you’ll notice immediately when something appears off-brand and you can explain really clearly who the company is and what they stand for.
  • Things will be busy, but they’ll rarely be agency levels of hectic. You generally work 9-5 and there’s not too much overtime. It’s great for work-life balance.
  • The pay tends to be higher than working in an agency. Right now, the cost of living is hitting hard, so it’s understandable that people are interested in in-house roles.


  • If you come from an agency, the pace might feel a little slow. You might feel like you’re twiddling your thumbs – either try to relax and enjoy working a little bit slower or find something else to occupy your time.
  • There is the possibility to get bored when working only on one brand, especially if it isn’t super sexy. Working on a recycled paper brand or for a blinds and shutters company? Definitely not as exciting as working in-house for somewhere like a travel company or a fashion brand, so choose an in-house brand at your own risk.
  • There might not be much room for growth. Some brand side companies will have a very small creative/marketing/digital team team or it might just be you, so there’s not a lot of opportunity for you to step up, develop and grow.


Obviously, you need to take personal preference into account – what we’ve mentioned as a pro might actually be a con for you and vice versa, but we hope this list gives you some guidance as to where you might want to work next!


If you are ready for a move, get in touch today. We’ve helped hundreds of stellar creative candidates like yourself find a new role. Email today.