I worked at JWT Action full-time (More than 3 years)
Please note that all of my observations are of the Indianapolis office.
- Trial by fire: You learn the job by doing the job. There is plenty of support from experienced coworkers and supervisors that still do what you do, but you learn by doing.
- Supervisors: I personally felt that all three of the main supervisors within the Indianapolis office were excellent. If I were grading solely based on their efforts to make the workplace a worthwhile place to be, I would give 5 stars.
- Culture: The culture was fantastic while I worked there. People were friendly, supportive and kept the atmosphere (usually) light.There are plenty of opportunities to build office camaraderie, particularly when things are slow in the summer.
- Work/Life Ballance: In general the work/life balance was spot on. People typically work their 40 hours and then go home.
- Client: I personally liked the office's main client. All media buyers work with them directly and they were generally reasonable, likable individuals.
- Client Contact:The Indianapolis office primarily works on one client and everyone gets plenty of time working with them both face-to-face and via e-mail/phone. This could theoretically segue into an account team position at another agency if you know how to sell yourself correctly.
- Wages: The entry-level wage was less than I expected, but it's fine for a first position. The benefits package was generous. If you work here, you'll get plenty of time off.
Again, please note that all of my observations are on the Indianapolis office.
- Branch office: The Indianapolis office was a branch off the main JWT Action office in Akron, Ohio. The various branches are not equally considered for new clients even when their work is used to win new accounts.
- Growth Opportunities: Opportunities to gain more responsibility and "move up the corporate chain" are few and far between if you aren't willing to move. Because new clients are rarely shared outside of Akron, the only way to get more responsibility in Indianapolis is to wait for someone with more seniority to leave. The turnover for senior management within Indianapolis has been virtually non-existent for the past 5 years.
- Wages: Because there aren't many opportunities for additional responsibility, there also aren't many opportunities to increase your income. Raises were supposed to be doled out annually, but were frequently held up while I was there due to the poor economy and possible company mergers. Local management frequently works to get raises handed out, but there's only so much they can do.
- Location: Although I've called it been calling it the Indianapolis office through this entire review, the office was moved to Carmel in 2013. This happened after the staff was informed multiple times for a year before the move that the office would not move to Carmel. As the majority of the staff live on the south side, the move was not well received. The new office is actually a shared space with the branch's main client (and the building is branded with their logo), so it seems unlikely the branch will ever gain additional clients with the current setup.
- Positions: If you aren't interested in local television media buying, there isn't much this office will have to offer. All creative and account positions were either eliminated or moved to Akron when the Indianapolis branch merged with JWT Action several years ago.
Advice to Management
Upper management: Use the Indianapolis office's strengths better and pitch Indy's direct response television skills to more clients. What the office currently does for one client could easily be adapted to more, but there apparently is no one selling the office or its strengths.
In short, invest in this office. The expertise of your supervisors and senior buyers is being wasted while the lack of new opportunities encourages all new buyers to leave after a short period of time.
Local management: Keep advocating for yourselves and your employees.
I applied online. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at JWT Action (Akron, OH) in April 2012.
Typical HR phone screening interview. Professional, but with an agenda - they are building a "pipeline" of applicants, and don't really have as many jobs as posted. The interviewer was experienced and courteous, and very good at "working" the conversation. This first impression of this company was okay, but did reinforce the stereotype of a political and self-serving ad agency culture.
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