Our 2019 User Feedback Survey Results

New findings about We Are Next users

Once a year, We Are Next turns to its incredible users to learn more about them and what they need to start their careers with confidence. While we’re always listening via social and questionnaires on our website, this yearly survey is important, because it helps us create the best resources that our audience will actually use (and love).

We expanded the survey this year, so there are a lot of new findings to dig into. We’re breaking down the results in three distinct sections so you can better understand who our users are, what they want in their careers, and how they use We Are Next.

tl;dr? See the full infographic here.

Section 1: Who are We Are Next users?

The breakdown of our users was similar to last year. If you group the recent grads (less than 1 year since graduating) and jr. talent together, half our users are still in school, while 42% are out of school and just starting their careers. Together, they make up our core users.

We added a “3–5 years” option this year to break out the remaining 8% of users between those approaching the mid-level, and those with 5+ years experience (including industry vets and professors who support We Are Next).

69% of We Are Next readers identify as female. Much like last year, these numbers surprised me. We Are Next is built to be gender-neutral, while ensuring that women have an equal voice through the guest writers and podcast guests we choose. I get a ton of messages and engagement from our male-identifying users, so part of me suspects that these results are a bit skewed by higher levels of survey participation by women. Just a hunch.

Even if the gender split is closer to 60%-40% (my gut estimate), I’m fiercely proud of our strong female user base.

According to Google Analytics, visitors to we-are-next.com represent all 50 states, as well as over 25 countries. While the largest concentrations of readers are in New York and California, it’s wonderful to see that our content is reaching everyone who needs it across the country. Based off of last year’s findings, we made a conscious effort in 2018 to include guests and agencies from the often-overlooked middle of the country.

Since its inception, We Are Next content has focused on North America. Being based in the States, it’s what we know and where most of our users want to work. That being said, it’s clear that our international audience is growing (3% of all website traffic came from the United Kingdom this past year), so we’re looking for ways to up our international game.

We Are Next is for everyone. Our resources are free to make career guidance accessible to underserved communities and well-supported young talent alike. That’s why we’re proud to report that about half of our users identify as people of color. (“About” because this question was a “check all that apply” one, so the % won’t add up to 100.) Additionally, 11% of users identify as LGBTQ+.

We’ve always embedded diversity and inclusion into our editorial strategy. Not only does We Are Next give underrepresented voices a platform upon which they can share their experiences, but by reflecting the diversity we want to see in the industry within our content, we normalize it for minority and non-minority populations alike.

A message from one of our users.

*Small side note — one of our survey respondents corrected one of my labels. I really appreciate the guidance, delivered in such a supportive way. Thank you!

“When discussing people with disabilities (like myself), it’s perfectly okay to use the word disabled. “Differently abled” gives a connotation of disability as something that is taboo. I promise it’s not that bad. :)”

Section 2: What are they looking for?

When asked what team users want to belong to (or already belong to), Strategy, Creative, and Account Management came out on top, unsurprisingly. But look at Marketing/Brand Management coming in hot! The fifth most popular answer was “Not Sure Yet,” which should be reassuring to those who are still deciding between roles — you’re definitely not alone.

Other roles not represented on the chart (for lack of room and very small percentages) include: Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Digital Product Management.

This year, we wanted to get a better sense of where our users want to be in their careers. When it came to which cities our users want to work in, the only surprise was London/the UK coming in at #7, and how many users are open to wherever opportunity takes them. Having seen so many amazing advertising communities around the country, I’m a big proponent of keeping yourself open.

Survey respondents were asked to list the three companies they want to work for. And while hand-tallying the results was a process, the results were so cool to see. Of the companies named, 68% were agencies, 16% were brands, 8% were tech companies (like Facebook, Amazon, and Squarespace),6% were publishers (like CondeNast, Buzzfeed, and Viacom), and 2% were entertainment-related (like Warner Brothers and Blizzard).

If you’re curious, click here for the full list of companies named.


Section 3: How do they use We Are Next?

Our audience takes full advantage of our various resources, with 65% using three or more of them regularly. I love that our OG resource, the Weekly Email, is still the most used, followed by our wildly popular job board and Summer Internship Master Calendar. And it looks like our focus on Twitter, LinkedIn, and the newly(ish) launched Instagram account is paying off, given the rise in social media users since last year.

We asked survey respondents to write about how We Are Next has specifically helped them, and pulled out the 10 themes above that were continually mentioned. Reading the way our audience talks about We Are Next is always an emotional experience for me. Here are a few of the responses that made me ugly cry the hardest:

“We Are Next has cleared up a lot of the worries that come with graduating college such as job/internship searches, and tips on tackling the journey of becoming a young professional. As someone who’s a first-generation immigrant, I don’t have family or direct acquaintances that can direct me on how to approach life in advertising as an upcoming grad, and I think it’s been really comforting finding a source such as We Are Next that collects guides and tips that are genuine and diverse.”
“We Are Next gives me context, and therefor confidence. I find the resources feel like the mentor I haven’t found yet. We Are Next has told me the things I was insecure about not already knowing, and it undoubtedly got me where I am today.”
“The weekly emails are like a breath of fresh air while I’m drowning in doubt. They show me the struggles others have gone through, help me understand I’m not alone in this, and give helpful guidelines that I know will be invaluable as I go into my career. I often reread the emails in chunks, or scroll through everything on the website, just to reinforce what I’ve learned.”
“We Are Next has helped me in an infinite amount of ways. It has been my go to resource to navigating my career since the first podcast. I have gained exposure to the different possibilities this industries has to offer and learned new things that they don’t teach you in school. I have learned from high level talent all the way to the starting point of interns. There’s nothing like We Are Next.”
“We Are Next has helped give me peace of mind, confidence, and learning opportunities. I really trust your advice and all of your resources — everything is authentic and not at all gimmicky. Literally I don’t know how I survived before We Are Next, and I want EVERY student to know about it.”
“I listened to every episode of the podcast. It has help me realize that the path I’m on is my personal journey and I don’t need to compare myself to anyone. It also has provided me with potential mentors, I reached out to Vann Graves who is a Howard Alum (HU!). There isn’t a big advertising class here at Howard, so it has been hard for me to learn where I can start this podcast has helped a lot by answering so many of my questions.”
“Your job board was the first thing I would look at every Monday, when applying for jobs. It gave me hope that there were open positions during the timeframe I was applying when other job boards didn’t. Finding an entry-level position in advertising is HARD, and your postings lead me in the direction I needed.”

I can’t quite wrap my head around this last stat, because it fills me with so much joy. To anyone who has ever gotten involved with We Are Next as a guest, a contributor, hosted an event, flew me out to speak, passed it along to their students or their interns—you are affecting people’s lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Yuko & I are grateful for you.

There’s more I want to say about how the survey results will affect We Are Next in 2019—namely our users’ suggestions on what resources they want to see, which we haven’t even mentioned here. I think that deserves its own piece, so stay tuned for that.

We are opening up new ways to support We Are Next, so if you’re interested in sponsoring We Are Next, please get in touch.


A HUGE thank you to everyone who responded to the user survey. I couldn’t have written this without you. Literally!

Check out all of We Are Next’s resources at we-are-next.com, and subscribe to our Weekly email for advice and insight from the industry, delivered Mondays.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed it, clap away. Want to help spread the word? Share this piece with people who need it most — friends, professors, colleagues, mentors and mentees.

About WRNXT BTS

As a first time entrepreneur and chronic writer, I’ve been wanting to document the experience of building We Are Next. WRNXT BTS is an open account of the highs and lows of starting and growing a resource for the next generation of advertising talent.