An advertising account executive acts as the connection between an advertising agency and the client. It is their job to research the client’s advertisings needs, and then develop a campaign, delegating tasks to the agencies team of staff. They will report on the campaigns progress to the client, and make sure work is completed on time, and on budget. The role will usually require account executives to handle three of four accounts in the same period of time.
The typical starting salary is £13,000 - £24,000, with more experienced executives earning between £30,000 and £38,000. Those further up the ladder with around 10 - 15 years of experience can expect £45,000 - £90,000, with those at board level able to earn salaries of a six figure sum. The salary will depend on your track record and experience, as well as the location and standing of the agency. Other benefits may include a company car and medical insurance.
Travel during the working day is the norm, though absence on trips overseas and away from home at night is rare. If a deadline needs to be met it will be expected you stay till late or start early. The working day is usually nine hours with the need to work at weekends a rarity. The larger agencies are based in London, offering a larger average of salary, but many other large cities such as Manchester and Birmingham home several agencies.
Advertising is a competitive sector, and many of its jobs are not advertised, meaning it is best to approach agencies directly. Qualifications are important, but just as significant are personal qualities such as a strong business sense, creative thinking, leadership qualities, and the ability to make contacts in the industry.
A BTEC (Business & Technology Education Council) qualification of vocational nature, with an emphasis on gaining employment skills, would stand you in good stead for a position in Advertising. A HND degree is often required by the top agencies of its applicants.
A degree in the following would be advantageous:
Applicants without a degree will be considered as long as they have a record of relevant work experience. This can be in advertising, media, marketing, communications, or sales. Those without qualifications may have to start in a position such as administrator and work their way up. Many agencies offer work experience, though these positions are in high demand. For further details on the companies offering these opportunities try the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) website.
You will likely start out as a junior account executive, which will enable you to learn on the job, and from other more experienced employees. Training will cover a variety of areas, including marketing, market research, team working, and report writing. With enough experience and a good portfolio of work you can become an agency director, or even start your own agency.
During your work you can work towards qualifications from professional associations. There are full lists of qualifications available on the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) websites. Here are a select few: