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Employee Poaching In The Advertising Industry And How To Prevent It

Employee Poaching

Simply put, employee poaching is the act in which an organisation steals staff or employees from another organisation by making them “offers they simply cannot refuse” – better working conditions and whatnot.

Clear? Good.

I have said this before. I spent a number of years behind a desk in front of a computer playing advertising executive. Therefore, I can tell you that advertising is the business in which the employee poaching game is played the most.

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

See Also: 35 Booming business ideas and step-by-step guides to start them.

Advertising Industry And Employee Poaching

Now I said advertising is the industry in which employee poaching is played the most. And this is probably because of several reasons, some of which are:


Advertising is built, for the most part, on reliance on talent. People with abilities come together to create ideas and creatively impact a brand and, hopefully, on social media and on the minds of people. The reality is that talented and creative people who can stay in organized structures are incredibly hard to find, so sometimes it is necessary to go looking in your competition’s yard.

Mind State  

As I noted earlier, it’s hard for creatives to want to settle in a place for too long.  That is why employee poaching happens often with creatives. A manager of a reputable bank once referred to copywriters as “prostitutes”,   guys who are for sale to the highest bidder. Wanderlust comes with the job, and creative people are mostly a restless type.


The truth with advertising – as with most other salaried jobs – is that no one job can actually pay you, in terms of cash, what you’re worth. This is a very prevalent truth in advertising as there is no standardised compensation matrix across board. Two people can work in the same advertising agency and have the same job title, implying that they do the same thing, yet their salaries vary considerably. How much more two people in different organisations? This disparity always makes it look as though the grass is regularly greener on the other side. Well, sometimes it is.


The advertising industry in Nigeria is still in its infancy and there is not exactly a large number of practitioners and clients. This creates a situation that has the few agencies jostling for the same small number of clients and juicy rewards.

A lot of factors contribute to winning over potential clients, but it does not hurt to have the best hands on your team. Therefore, a typical agency is on a constant lookout for fresh talent, someone who can boost their ratings. Because they rarely have the time to train and create new breeds, again they go looking in their “neighbours’” yards.

There are ways to prevent key staff from leaving the organisation. (Everyone who contributes to the growth of the company is key – including the janitor.) What I learnt in all the places I’ve worked in is to try to leave on the best of terms – leaving under cordial conditions. Some of it was due to my effort, but the greater credit goes to my employers.

I have had wonderful bosses.

How To Handle It And Curb Employee Poaching

The first thing to do when word of an employee resigning is mentioned is to try to ascertain the truth of such – most preferably from the individual. It is not time to get offended or angry. It is time for a conversation; time for understanding and empathy. Sometimes, the employee just wants better working conditions – an increase in pay or growth in terms of personal achievements. Sometimes, the employee’s mind is made up. No matter what he/she is offered, they want to leave.

But sometimes, a conversation is all that is necessary.

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

At the end of the day, things will happen. People will go, new people will come and life’s revolving doors keep moving. When an employee leaves, however, it is always better if it is with the best of terms. Life is a series of never-ending roads.

And roads usually cross. What do you think of employee poaching? As an entrepreneur have you poached someone before?

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