Creative Managers Say Flexible Work Arrangements Improve Performance

Working longer hours fewer days a week could be good for business, according to new workplace research from staffing firm The Creative Group. Half of advertising and marketing hiring decision makers (50 percent) surveyed feel productivity would increase if their company instituted a compressed schedule, where employees work four 10-hour days. In addition, more than three-quarters of respondents (76 percent) support allowing staff to attend to non-work-related tasks while on the clock in order to boost overall performance.

More companies recognize that the best work doesn’t always happen in the office Monday through Friday from 9 to 5,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “A flexible workplace, where employees have greater control over when and where they work, can improve productivity and job satisfaction. It can also be a big draw for professionals, helping companies attract and keep the best talent.”

Work-Life Balance is a Shared Responsibility

When it comes to achieving healthy work-life balance, most employers want staff to meet them halfway, the survey suggests. Fifty-two percent of creative managers said companies and employees are equally accountable; only 6 percent said it’s solely the company’s concern.

“Savvy employers recognize that staff who are able to take care of personal tasks and pursue outside passions during business hours often bring their most creative and productive selves to the job,” Domeyer explained. “But employees must remember that with freedom comes responsibility. To maintain privileges like a flexible schedule, staff must continue to deliver results and meet goals.”

Infographic about Flexible Workplace Survey

Visit The Creative Group’s Creative and Marketing  Blog to learn more about alternative work arrangements and making work-life balance a part of employee retention.

About the Research

The online survey was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by a leading independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 400 advertising and marketing hiring decision makers who work full-time at agencies with 20 or more employees or companies with 100 or more employees in the United States.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in connecting creative, digital, marketing, advertising and public relations talent with the best companies on a project, contract-to-hire and full-time basis. For more information, including job-hunting services and candidate portfolios, visit roberthalf.com/creativegroup.

Research Reveals In-Demand Creative Skills

New research from The Creative Group staffing firm shows that digital initiatives will drive hiring of creative professionals in the second half of 2018. According to a survey of more than 400 advertising and marketing hiring decision makers, the greatest need is for people with expertise in web and mobile development, web production, user interface and interaction design, and creative development.

The research also points to a shortage of talent in these areas, too. When asked which creative roles were hardest to staff, the top responses were web and mobile development, creative development, user interface and interaction design, information architecture, and user experience.

“Many companies want to bring on creative and marketing professionals to support digital initiatives. But they face an extremely competitive hiring environment and low unemployment,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. She advises employers to develop realistic job descriptions, provide attractive pay and benefits, and move quickly to extend offers to top candidates.

Overcoming Recruiting Challenges

Advertising and marketing hiring decision-makers use a variety of tactics to source creative and marketing talents. Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) said they reach out to their network for referrals. More than four in 10 (43 percent) become more flexible on skills requirements to drum up candidate leads. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents (89 percent) said they would welcome back a former employee who left on good terms.

Forty-seven percent of those surveyed admitted they divide work responsibilities among their existing teams while they continue to search for an full-time hire. But Domeyer said, “Asking already-busy employees to take on more work while a role remains open is a recipe for burnout and turnover. To avoid a prolonged candidate search, hiring managers should focus on finding people who possess the most critical skills and a passion for learning. Providing training to new hires can even boost engagement and retention.”

About the Research

The online survey was developed by The Creative Group and was conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on responses from more than 400 advertising and marketing decision makers in the U.S. who work full-time at agencies with 20 more employees or companies with 100 or more employees.

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in connecting creative, digital, marketing, advertising and public relations talent with the best companies on a project, contract-to-hire, and full-time basis.

Salary Guide for Creative Pros Shows 2018 Ranges for More than 80 Jobs

Whether you are looking for a job or recruiting creative employees for your firm, you will find useful information about starting salary ranges in the 2018 Salary Guide for creative pros published by The Creative Group, a Robert Half Company.

The Creative Group 2018 Salary GuideSalaries grouped into 5 categories, including Digital Design and Production, Content Development and Management, Advertising and Marketing, Agency or Corporate, and Public Relations.

Specific jobs include: graphic designers, creative services managers, studio managers, 3D animators, 3D modelers, multimedia designers, package designers, illustrator/infographics designers, photographers, video editors, instructional systems designers, copywriters, technical writers, web content managers, MarCom managers, SEO/SEM specialists, social media managers, event/trade show managers, and public relations specialists.

Salaries are presented in percentiles (25th, 50th, 75th, and 95th). These low, mid-point, and upper salary ranges reflect factors such as the candidate’s experience level and skills and the complexity of the job duties.

You can use an online salary calculator to customize the salary ranges in the guide for nearly 135 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

The 2018 Salary Guide guide also includes data on benefits, incentives, and perks.

Hiring Trends

Here are a few of the trends identified in the guide:

Demand remains strong for skilled professionals in creative fields. Companies must work harder to attract and retain the best people. Companies the want to hire employees who can perform multiple types of jobs must be ready to offer more if they identify candidates who bring a lot to the table.

Many hiring managers are taking a closer look at “soft skills” such as communication, collaboration, and flexibility. While hard skills can be taught, soft skills are more difficult to develop and may play a greater role in determining who might be the best fir for the work environment.

Companies should speed up the recruitment process. Nearly seven in 10 job seekers surveyed by Robert Half said they lose interest in a firm if they don’t hear back within two weeks after an initial interview.

Hot Jobs

According to guide, companies are increasingly using data to drive business decisions and marketing strategy. They are seeking individuals who can help develop and run campaigns, analyze performance, and identify growth opportunities. Some of the hot jobs in the United States include:

  • Content strategist
  • Digital marketing manager
  • Digital project manager
  • Digital strategist
  • Marketing analytics manager
  • Marketing automation manager
  • Product designer
  • User experience design
  • User experience researcher

According to research by The Creative Group, more than two-thirds of advertising and marketing teams said their teams collaborate closely with IT professionals.

Consider More Than Compensation

“Salary is still king, but professionals are paying more attention to other factors that can affect their quality of life,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. He said job seekers are taking an increasingly holistic view when assessing whether to accept a job offer.

“Highly skilled professionals want assurance that the company will invest in their careers and help them keep their skills current,” McDonald added. “This is especially true in industries that are changing rapidly, like technology and finance.”

Robert Half advises employers to highlight five key elements when recruiting:

  • Compensation, including benefits, incentives, and perks
  • Corporate culture
  • Career path
  • Cost of living
  • Commute

Hiring managers should expect recruits to ask questions such as:

  • How often do employees refer their friends to open jobs within the company?
  • Is promoting from within the exception or the rule?
  • Are there several potential career paths or is there just one traditional ladder?
  • Does the company offer flexible work schedules, telecommuting options, or commuting benefits?

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group, a division of Robert Half, is a resource for creative and marketing talent on a freelance, direct-placement, consulting, and project basis. The information in the 2018 Salary Guide is based on average starting salaries from thousands of actual job placements from the previous year.

Otis College of Art and Design Adds Business Courses for Creative Pros

Students who pursue design- and art-related careers no longer must learn art business skills on their own after graduation.

Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles has launched a college-to-career initiative called  Your Creative Future. This program ensures that all art and design students develop the full set of professional, business, and entrepreneurial skills needed to launch and sustain successful careers.

This initiative includes business practices courses for every student, discipline-specific professional preparation, real-world engagement, career services, and individual mentoring. Some students can minor in entrepreneurial studies.

Otis College Art Design

Courses such as business planning, basic accounting, principles of finance, cost structuring, invoicing, and taxation are tailored for artists and designers. Students learn about portfolio development, presentation delivery, and client relations within their majors.

The College’s Creative Action program provides project-based opportunities with local and international organizations.  Internships, travel study opportunities, and individualized career counseling are also available.

The Career Services office connects students and alumni to internship, freelance, part-time, and full-time employment opportunities. The online job board features over 2,600 employers.

Students who choose to minor in Entrepreneurial Studies dive deeper into the world of start-ups, small businesses, and solopreneurship. They will form their own studios, develop their work or products, and market themselves.

About Otis College of Art and Design

Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of visual and applied arts, media, and design. Degree programs include:

  • architecture/landscape/interiors
  • graphic design
  • illustration
  • animation
  • game and entertainment design
  • motion design
  • costume design
  • painting
  • photography
  • sculpture
  • product design
  • toy design

The College’s mission is to prepare diverse students to enrich the world through their creativity, skill, and vision.

Alumni and faculty include MacArthur and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar winners, and design stars from Apple, Pixar, Mattel, and more.

 

Epson Designer Edition Printers Simplify Color Accurate Proofing

If use an inkjet printer to make color-accurate proofs of designs for print ads, large-format graphics, marketing collateral, magazine pages, or other print projects, you will be interested in this news from Epson.  Epson has expanded its SureColor® P-Series of large format printers to include three new Designer Edition configurations: the 17-inch SureColor P800; 24-inch SureColor P6000; and 44-inch SureColor P8000.

epsonexceedyourvisionTo ensure an easy-to-use workflow for creative output, the SureColor P-Series Designer Edition printers incorporate the latest Epson printer technologies with updated EFI™ Fiery® eXpress RIP software, built on Adobe® PostScript® 3.

“The SureColor P-Series Designer Edition printers enable graphic designers to print the way they want with accurate results,” said Larry Kaufman, product manager, Professional Imaging, Epson America, Inc. “With true Adobe PostScript, seamless RGB and CMYK color management and nesting of files to optimize media usage, the new SureColor Designer Edition Printers offer advanced capabilities for producing unparalleled output from a broad range of applications.”

Developed for graphic designers and some advanced photographers, the Designer Edition printers offer accurate color matching for process color (CMYK), spot colors, and RGB files.

The advanced job processing includes both the Adobe CPSI and PDF print engines along with support of the PANTONE® Plus Spot Color library, ensuring compatibility printing directly from all industry standard design programs.

The powerful EFI Fiery eXPress software RIP delivers all this in an easy-to-use software package with five easy ways to print. This means creative professionals can concentrate on what they do best – design.

Five Easy Ways to Print

Utilizing the updated EFI Fiery eXpress RIP software, the new Designer Edition printers produce accurate, repeatable output either as standalone printers or in networked configurations with Apple and Windows PCs.

The five methods to print are:

  • Hot Folder: Drag and drop, copy, or save a copy of a compatible file directly to the hot folder and the RIP will process the job using the current printer preferences
  • Virtual Printer: The simplest way to send a job to the RIP using the current printer settings, this works directly from an application and is selected from the printer list
  • Unidriver: Prints directly from the application with added controls for changing media, color and layout settings
  • eXpress RIP: Print locally using the eXpress RIP software. The software opens a wide range of file formats, including EPS, PDF, PSD, TIFF, and JPEG.
  • Drag and Drop: Drag files directly to the job list for on-demand printing

SureColor P800 Designer Edition

The SC-P800 Designer Edition offers full 17-inch wide borderless printing with unique Epson MicroPiezo® AMC™ printhead technology, 8-color UltraChrome® HD inks and advanced media handling, including a sheet feeder, front-in and front-out paper path, and an optional roll holder.

Choose your media and path to print full two-page spreads with bleed and crop marks, or borderless photos with exceptional clarity and sharpness up to 17 x 22 inches on a wide variety of comping, proofing, glossy, matte, and fine art papers.

An ideal printing solution for professional use in a studio or home office, the SureColor P800 Designer Edition uses individual 80 ml high-capacity ink cartridges, and offers exceptional connectivity options, making it easy to print via USB, Wireless n2 or Ethernet.

SureColor P6000 and P8000 Designer Editions

The 24-inch SC-P6000 and 44-inch SC-P8000 Designer Editions feature the latest 8-color imaging technologies, including Epson’s PrecisionCore® TFP® printhead and UltraChrome HD inks.

These printers deliver the extraordinary performance and unparalleled color-matching capabilities required for professional printing jobs.

For comping, proofing, or photographic output, the SC-P6000 and SC-P8000 Designer Editions have advanced media-handling capabilities for a huge variety of roll or cut-sheet inkjet media. The printers can even output graphics on posterboard up to 1.5 mm thick.

If a current design size or workflow requires tiling and splicing individual pages or outsourcing large jobs, the wider 24- or 44-inch devices can output a time-saving single page.

The SC-P800 ($1,495), SC-P6000 ($3,495), and SC-P8000 ($5,495) Designer Editions are currently available through Authorized Epson Professional Imaging resellers.

For more information, visit proimaging.epson.com.

About Epson

Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables, and robotics.

Freelancing Guide Helps Newcomers Navigate the Universe of Opportunities

The creative people at FreshBooks’ cloud accounting service for freelancers and small businesses have developed “The Freelancer’s Guide to the Galaxy.”   Because I have been freelancing for a long time and use FreshBooks’ services, I accepted their invitation to comment on the guide.

FreshBooks_GuideGalaxyHeadlineThe infographic (published below) points out that the freelance universe can be complex place to navigate on your own. The guide highlights 9 places new voyagers can expect to encounter. Here is a quick recap of the 9 zones and what I have learned traveling through them.

CLIENT STAR FIELD: Potential clients abound but they can be elusive if you take the wrong approach.

My experience: This is true. The right approach matters because competition also abounds. You will also discover that not all clients and opportunities are right for you. At some point, seeking new clients becomes like perpetual online dating or job hunting. Eventually you may prefer to settle down with a few clients who value your work and treat you like part of the team.

LAND OF PEAKS AND PITS: Some months you’ll have to trek through mountains of work from multiple clients. Other months you’ll have to slog through a desert of dry spells.

My experience: Mountains of work are fraught with peril (e.g., missed deadlines, neglected marketing projects, overlooked accounting tasks).  The deserts can be unnerving because you never know when the dry spell will end. But slowdowns in paying assignments are great opportunities to pursue personal projects that refresh your skills and enthusiasm. Dry spells can also give you time to streamline your workflows, update your skills, or connect with clients who can give you a predictable flow of steady work.

ISOLATION ZONE: Sometimes the life of a work-at-home freelancer gets a bit lonely. Stay connected to professional peers at networking events or informal get-togethers.

My experience: I am more productive and creative working in isolation than in an open-space office environment. But staying connected to the outside world is essential. Traveling to trade shows and educational conferences can expand your universe of contacts, opportunities, and ideas for new projects.

TIME WASTER’S BLACK HOLE: Online (and offline) distractions can be a powerful force.

My experience: You can’t afford to fall into the black hole of wasted time. As a freelancer, your time is your most valuable asset. Ultimately, your earning potential depends on how many hours you spend on income-generating projects.

GRAY AREA: The boundaries between work and home become especially blurry when working from home.

My experience: This was particularly true when my children were little. But children grow up and move out faster than you imagine.  So, I have never regretted the times I let my own work slow down to spend more time with them. Still, I have always appreciated my separate home office space. I close the door and leave work behind at the end of a busy day.

PLANET YOU: You are responsible for your own success.

My experience: Like other freelancers, I was shocked by how little time is spent doing work I truly love. Instead of “being your own boss,” you must adapt to the diverse work styles and expectations of multiple bosses. Plus, in addition to marketing yourself, there will be times when you must be your own IT person, accountant, and training expert.

Continuous training is especially important because it can help you differentiate yourself from competitors and become indispensable to your clients. Freelancers with leading-edge skills or unique expertise can command higher rates.

ACCOUNTING ALLEY: The land of taxes, deductions, and accounts payable can seem like entering a whole new universe.

My experience: In addition to exploring the brave new world of accounting, you may encounter clients who require specific types of business insurance and licenses. If you approach freelancing as a business instead of a sideline, you will be better prepared to handle the realities of taxes, local home-business regulations, and insurance.

CORPORATE TEMPTRESSES: Guaranteed health coverage and 401k contributions could lure you back into the life of a salaried employee.

My experience: Weaving between the worlds of freelancing and full-time work can be a good thing. I worked at home when my children were toddlers, and happily accepted a part-time job when the kids went off to school. When the part-time job morphed into full-time work, I forged valuable connections that guaranteed steady work when I opted to return to freelancing. In today’s world of “contingent workforces,” a full-time job isn’t necessarily more secure than freelancing.

RETIREMENT NEVERLAND: Don’t neglect the need to plan for your financial future.

My experience: Yes, it’s critical to plan for secure financial future. But if you reach the point  in your business where you can do more of the work you love, you may not want to retire. At some point during your freelance career, consider diversifying your work so that not all of your income comes from paying clients. Creative professionals today are discovering dozens of new ways to create and sell their own products.

FreshBooks_GuideToTheGalaxy600pix-

Final Words of Advice

With the rise of the gig economy and contingency work teams, dozens of new services have been developed to make life easier for independent workers.

I started using FreshBooks several years ago, when I learned about it during a virtual conference on International Freelancer’s Day. The founder of FreshBooks was a freelance designer who learned the hard way that general-office tools for creating documents and spreadsheets aren’t sufficient for the needs of independent business owners.

At first, I used FreshBooks primarily for time tracking, invoicing, and preparing 1099 forms for independent contractors I managed for a major project. Today, I also use FreshBooks to track and categorize tax-deductible expenses. I can access FreshBooks on my iPhone, iPad and PC.

FreshBooks-ProductFamily

Today, companies that hire freelancers may ask you to provide specialized services that you don’t yet offer. FreshBooks’ partnership with Elance makes it easy to connect with a vast pool of other freelancers who could help deliver additional services a client might want.

The FreshBooks partnership with PayPal makes it easy for to give clients several options for how they want to pay (including credit cards).

Many other apps and services exist make it easier for freelancers today to find new clients, submit proposals, and provide a wider range of services.  I will share some of the services that have worked well for me in future posts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

FreshBooks

 

The Creative Group Reports Hiring Trends for First Half of 2016

According to new research on 2016 hiring trends by The Creative Group, 11 percent of advertising and marketing executives surveyed planned to expand their teams in the first half of 2016. The majority of respondents (76 percent) said they expect to maintain staff levels and hire primarily to fill vacated roles in the next six months.

hiring trends 2016Fifty-eight percent of executives said it is challenging to find creative professionals today. “Companies have specific staffing needs, particularly in digital marketing, and seek professionals with precise skills and experience to support these initiatives. Low unemployment coupled with high demand is creating a competitive hiring environment,” said Diane Domemeyer, executive director of The Creative Group.

“Employers are also placing greater emphasis on finding job candidates who will fit well with their workplace culture, which is making the recruiting process even more challenging.”

Hiring Trends for Marketing and Advertising Specialties

Executives reported a range of specialties when asked in which areas they planned to add staff in the first half of 2016. Content marketing and creative/art direction topped the list (27 percent each), followed by brand/product management and print design/production (26 percent each).

Advertising and marketing executives were asked: “In which of the following areas do you expect to hire in the first half of 2016?” Their responses

27% – Content marketing
27% – Creative/art direction
26% – Brand/product management
26% – Print design/production
25% – Interactive media
23% – Account services
22% – Media services
20% – Web design/production
17% – Market research
16% – Digital marketing
15% – Public relations
15% – Customer experience
15% – Copywriting
15% – Social media
10% – Mobile design/development

Challenges Recruiting Creative Professionals

Hiring is getting harder for companies: Fifty-eight percent of advertising and marketing executives said it is challenging to find skilled creative professionals today. This figure is up 16 percent from six months ago, and the highest it has been since The Creative Group started tracking the figure in 2010.

Hiring managers at small marketing departments (100-249 employees) expect the greatest difficulty, with 62 percent of respondents reporting it is somewhat or very challenging to find the talent they seek.

When asked which areas are most difficult to fill, the top responses were brand/product management and customer experience.

The Creative Group Hiring Trends Report

About the Research

The national study on hiring trends was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 400 telephone interviews with approximately 200 marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 200 advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in placing a range of highly skilled interactive, design, marketing, advertising, and public relations professionals with a variety of firms on a project, contract-to-hire, and full-time basis.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

The Creative Group

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