Hiring Outlook for Creative Pros in First Half of 2019

What’s the employment outlook for creative talent? According to The Creative Group’s latest State of Creative Hiring research, 60 percent of advertising and marketing hiring decision makers plan to expand their teams in the first half of 2019.

Thirty-seven percent of employers anticipate maintaining staff levels and primarily filling vacated roles. In addition, 56 percent of companies expect to increase the number of freelancers they use in the next six months.

Research from The Creative Group reveals in-demand creative skills for the first half of 2019.

Web and mobile development and web production are the top areas for recruiting — and among the hardest to staff, results showed. Advertising and marketing hiring managers also reported a strong need for professionals with expertise in user experience, creative development and visual design.

“As companies continue to invest in digital transformation, they seek people who can help with new and ongoing initiatives,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “In addition to hiring full-time staff, many are bringing on freelancers to provide extra support during busy periods, fill skills gaps on their teams and access a different pool of talent.”

The research also shed light on staffing challenges and trends in the creative industry. Among the findings:

Good talent is hard to come by. Ninety-two percent of advertising and marketing hiring decision makers said it’s challenging to find creative professionals today.

There’s a need for recruiting speed. When asked to name the greatest barrier to bringing on top talent, the most common response was a slow hiring process (19 percent), followed by a failure to offer competitive pay (17 percent).

Flexibility is a selling point. Employers surveyed said a flexible work schedule (32 percent) is the most desirable noncash perk for creative professionals. A generous vacation or time-off policy (21 percent) ranked second.

Experience matters. When evaluating applicants for creative roles, 31 percent of hiring decision makers rated previous experience as the top criterion. Twenty-one percent of respondents said the portfolio carries the most weight.

Companies are relaxing some requirements. Seventy-four percent of hiring managers are now more willing to bring on creative talent who have relevant certifications in lieu of a college degree than they were 12 months ago.

Frequent job changes are a red flag. One-quarter of employers (25 percent) said it’s likely they’d remove a candidate from consideration if their resume showed a history of job hopping.

Retention is a top concern. Seventy-eight percent of companies are worried about losing current creative staff members to other job opportunities in the next 12 months.

“U.S. unemployment is at its lowest level since 1969, and companies are struggling to staff open roles on their teams,” Domeyer added. “The talent shortage is even more pronounced for creative professionals with digital expertise — the precise individuals most in demand with employers. An efficient hiring process, competitive compensation and strong organizational culture are essential to recruiting in today’s market.”

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.

Adobe Releases Report on The New Creatives

TheNewCreativesLogo-pixAdobe’s report on “The New Creatives” is filled with interesting statistics about how creative professionals view their work and their future. Unveiled at the Cannes Lions festival for creative communications professionals, the report is based on a U.S. survey of more than 1,000 creative professionals and 500 students in creative disciplines. The survey included insights into the attitudes and beliefs of graphic designers, web designers, photographers, illustrators, videographers and other creatives who are employed full-time, self-employed.

First, let’s look at the key findings that Adobe highlighted in their press release. Then, let’s call attention to some other noteworthy stats in the full Slideshare presentation below.

From the press release 

Seventy-four percent of creative professionals view mobile technology as transforming the face of creativity and design, with seven in 10 reporting they create specifically for mobile devices,

An overwhelming majority (77%) of creatives believe change within the industry is happening rapidly, with two-thirds expecting their role will be significantly different within three years.

New technologies such as mobile are driving this change: A strong majority (87%) of those who create mobile content believe doing so has had a positive impact on their work.

While creatives still rely on pen and paper for ideation (28%) and brainstorming (36%), nearly half use their mobile devices to capture inspiration on- the-go and 42 percent say they use mobile to create content anywhere. Thirty percent of creatives also expressed a desire to create more on tablets, surpassing desktop computers.

Creatives identified app development and 3D modeling as the skills that will be most in-demand over the next 12 months.

“Creatives are going mobile, and this means a sea change for the creative process,” said David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager, Digital Media, Adobe. “The study shows that creatives are very interested in using mobile for idea generation and suggests we will see mobile use in the creation process significantly increase in the years ahead. This underscores that mobile devices can be an important part of the creative process when integrated with existing desktop workflows.”

Creatives are feeling optimistic and highly valued. Ninety-six percent of creative professionals are happy in their careers and 88 percent believe their best days are ahead of them. Eighty-eight percent believe they have a strong influence on their organizations and clients, and 46 percent say they have significantly more impact than they did two years ago. A striking 93 percent believe the value of their contributions is recognized by their companies or clients.

Despite their optimism, creatives have worries, pointing to the need to “create more, at a faster speed than ever” as their top concern.

Creatives also recognize the need to diversify their skills. Eighty percent of respondents believe they must learn new tools and techniques and three quarters say that creatives are increasingly working across multiple mediums and disciplines.

When asked what motivates them most, creatives ranked doing great work (54%) and learning new things (52%) higher than financial rewards (37%).

The survey also exposed new insight into where creatives get their sparks of inspiration. Twice as many view digital sources such as social media (36%) as well as websites and online advertising (33%) as the most influential sources of inspiration over more traditional influences such as fashion and architecture. Creatives are also turning to professional online communities, noting inspiration and collaboration and sharing as the top reasons for participating.

While still mostly trusting their gut (79%) to make decisions, creatives view the impact of technology and digital analytics positively: 75 percent note that technology gives them more control over their professional destiny, and 70 percent feel empowered by analytics.

Creative students share similar views to pros. Students majoring in creative disciplines echoed many of the same trends as professional creatives. Ninety-six percent of students have a positive outlook on their choice of a future creative career, and they recognize that new technologies (31%) and the impact of social media (23%) are some of the driving forces changing the industry. They have also embraced mobile: 79 percent of students have created mobile content. Students’ top interests in online creative communities are job prospecting (30%) and learning new skills (21%).

Other Statistics Worth Noting
Here are a few of the statistics that caught my eye as I read through the report:

  • 70% of creatives believe they need to become skilled in more than discipline.
  • 84% said being passionate about their work mattered. 53% said it was extremely important; 31% said it was very important.

More than 70% of respondents also said it was important to

  • have complete creative freedom
  • stay true to my creative vision despite pressures
  • be proficient in multiple disciplines
  • be able to create from anywhere
  • collaborate effectively with others

About The New Creatives Report

The data points referenced above come from a study commissioned by Adobe, produced by research firm Edelman Berland and conducted as an online survey among a total of 1,048 US creative professionals and 535 students of creative disciplines. Data was collected May 12-21, 2014 by Edelman Berland. The margin of error at the 95% confidence level for the Pro sample is +/- 3.1% and +/- 4.2% for the student sample.


Adobe: The New Creatives Report

Adobe: The New Creatives Report-Student Findings


Reports Provide Insights on Digital Marketing Careers

Do you aspire to a career in the red-hot, fast-morphing field of digital marketing? If so, where in the digital-marketing ecosystem would you feel most excited about working?

Two wildly different resources from SoDA and The Creative Group can help creative pros better understand whether they would prefer to remain as independent contractors or strive to seek employment with a company marketing department, agency, or digital production company. Neither report was intended strictly as a “career guide” yet each provides insights that can help you choose a path that might make more sense for you.

The 2013 SoDA Report: Digital Marketing Outlook

CAWSoDAReportThe Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) is an international association that that provides a forum for digital marketing leaders to share issues unique to today’s new generation of advertising. The organization’s members include 70 top digital agencies and production companies that have offices in 22 countries on five continents. Their latest report, released February 28, 2013, integrates the results of a Digital Marketing Outlook (DMO) Survey with dozens of articles, interviews, and case studies on topics such as agency ecosystems, innovation, experience design, agile marketing, and the rise of the marketing technologist.

Reading all 238 pages of the SoDA Report can give you insights into the types of people you will be working with in digital marketing. You will see how the client/agency relationship is evolving in a world in which there have never been so many different marketing channels and methods of gaining insight into customers.

The report is brimming with buzzwords such as engagement, micro-segmentation, humanizing data, complex personalization, and the psycho-dynamics of experience design.

You will also get a sense of how disjointed and unsettled the digital marketing world seems to be. One observer finds it exciting that “things are always changing, so that what was an accepted practice one week can seem outdated the next.” Another observer contends that marketers must abandon certain tactics because audiences can tell when they’re being scammed: “The world of marketing has moved to a place where authenticity and doing good work matters.”

The articles were written by SoDA members and guest contributors including CMOs, editors, and senior executives from organizations such as General Mills, Adobe, Dollar Shave Club, Marketing Week, The Art Directors Club, and Econsultancy. The case studies showcase innovative work SoDA members have done on behalf of international brands such as Google, Avis, Coca Cola, Barneys, Nike, Fox, Samsung, Icon Fitness, Unilever, Intel, and Cisco.

The Digital Marketing Outlook Survey featured in the 2013 SoDA Report is based on responses from 814 digital marketing professionals who work at digital agencies, full-service agencies with digital capabilities, digital-production studios, consulting firms, and consumer brand and B2B marketing organizations.

Only 11 percent of clients rely on a lead agency to handle all traditional and digital assignments. More than 50 percent either use a mix of highly specialized digital agencies (search, mobile, social) or a mix of full-service and highly specialized digital agencies.

The survey found that many clients are “insourcing” the set-up and maintenance of currently existing digital services while relying on agencies for highly specialized or innovative services. About 40 percent of the agency respondents have set up innovation labs and incubators.  The survey also found that nearly one-third of agency respondents are providing education and training services to clients who have developed internal groups for digital production and maintenance.

When it comes to hiring and retaining talented people, agencies understand that money isn’t always the decisive factor. In terms of job satisfaction, employees rated the following factors as very important:

  • Interesting Work (76 percent)
  • Culture (75 percent)
  • Good Work-Life Balance (62 percent)
  • Salary/Flexibility (50 percent)

“We believe the 2013 SoDA Report will provoke meaningful dialogue about where the industry is headed,” said SoDA Executive Director Chris Buettner.  A free iPad version of The SoDA Report is currently available for download from iTunes. A free PDF copy can be downloaded through Slideshare and at other sites. Additional tablet and web-browser versions are being developed (of course!).


The SoDA Report: 1H 2013 Digital Marketing Outlook

iTunes: The SoDA Report

About SoDA

The Creative Group Infographic on The Future of Freelancing

If you have in-demand creative or technology skills, maybe you would prefer pursuing project work as an independent freelance professional instead of aligning yourself with a single employer. 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 and full-time basis.

“Many companies are strategically supplementing their advertising and marketing teams with freelance professionals,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “This approach allows employers to quickly get the support they need and access skills that might not be available internally. In many cases, project professionals are able to impart their specialized knowledge to a company’s internal staff.”

A recent survey by The Creative Group suggests that the freelance talent pool has grown stronger. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed by The Creative Group said the caliber of independent creative professionals has increased in the last five years. Among those, nearly one-third (31 percent) said it has increased significantly. Respondents cited “access to specialized skills or knowledge” as the greatest benefit of using freelancers.

The research included more than 500 telephone interviews — approximately 375 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

The research also showed that contract work is an attractive option for many people in the creative industry: Nearly half (49 percent) of advertising and marketing executives said it’s likely they would work as independent professionals at some point in their career.

“Freelancing jobs can pay well and provide greater flexibility and variety of work,” Farrugia said. “We’re seeing more professionals with in-demand skills pursue project work. And if you partner with a specialized staffing firm, its representatives can market your services and manage the administrative side of your business, such as billing and collections.”

The Creative Group published the results of the research in the form of an infographic. Along with  various statistics, the infographic includes four questions that can help you decide whether or not you would be a good candidate for freelance work:

1. Do you prefer consistency or constant change?

2. Do you consider yourself a team player?

3. Can you perform under pressure?

4. Are you comfortable tooting your own horn?

As a freelancer, you must be able to market yourself, work well within a variety of different work cultures and organizations, and understand that freelancers are usually called in during peak work periods when the deadlines are tight.



Future of Freelancing Infographic: The Creative Group

About The Creative Group


Report Shows Q4 Hiring Plans of Marketing and Ad Execs

Seventeen percent of marketing and advertising executives plan to add full-time staff in the next three months, according to The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals. Four percent forecast reductions in personnel. The resulting net 13 percent of executives who anticipate hiring is up two points from the third-quarter forecast. Much of the growth is on the agency side, with a net 34 percent of these advertising executives planning to add full-time employees.

The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals is based on more than 500 telephone interviews — approximately 375 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees. Executives are asked whether their companies plan to increase or decrease the number of full-time advertising and marketing personnel on their staff during the coming quarter. The survey is conducted by an independent research firm and developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing interactive, design and marketing professionals on a project and full-time basis.

Key Findings

The net 13 percent of executives planning to hire in the fourth quarter is up two points from the third-quarter 2012 forecast. A net 34 percent of advertising executives expect to add full-time staff, compared to a net 12 percent of marketing executives.

Forty-four percent of respondents said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals today, down seven points from the previous quarter.

Account services, web design/production, mobile applications development and brand/product management are the specialties in greatest demand, according to marketing and advertising executives.

Eighty-six percent of respondents report they are confident in their companies’ growth prospects for the fourth quarter, down three points from the third-quarter projections.

“Advertising agencies are increasingly busy as companies turn to them for help developing digital marketing campaigns and other branding initiatives,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “Since many of these shops are operating with lean crews, they are filling open roles and creating new ones to access specialized skills and keep pace with growing business demands.”

Marketing and Advertising Specialties in Demand

When executives were asked in which areas they plan to add staff in the fourth quarter, account services ranked first with 22 percent of the response, followed by web design/production, mobile applications development and brand/product management (each with 14 percent).

Forty-four percent of respondents said it’s challenging for their firms to find skilled creative professionals, down seven points from the third-quarter forecast.

Marketing and advertising executives were asked, “In which of the following areas do you expect to hire in the fourth quarter of 2012?” Their responses:

  • Account services: 22%
  • Web design/production: 14%
  • Mobile app development: 14%
  • Brand/product development: 14%
  • Media services: 13%
  • Social media: 13%
  • Interactive media: 12%
  • Print design/production: 11%
  • Public relations: 11%
  • Marketing research: 10%
  • Creative/art direction: 10%
  • Copywriting: 8%

Perspectives on Business Growth

Marketing and advertising executives’ business confidence dipped slightly from last quarter. Eighty-six percent of those interviewed said they are somewhat or very confident in their firms’ prospects for growth in the fourth quarter, down three points from three months ago.

About the Hiring Index

The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals is based on more than 500 telephone interviews — approximately 375 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees within the United States. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm.

Information from the study is featured in the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, which was launched in 2010 and is the first study of its kind to monitor the hiring environment for professional-level positions exclusively. Based on more than 4,000 telephone interviews with executives throughout the United States, it provides insight on employment trends to help businesses and job seekers prepare for the upcoming quarter. To see how hiring in the creative profession compares to other sectors, please visit roberthalf.us/per.


The Creative Group

The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals

Three In-Demand Design Jobs That Offer Six-Figure Salaries

Although many people associate six-figure salaries with executive positions, those with a knack for technology and creative thinking can earn handsome compensation, too. According to research from Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, salaries often top $100,000 for roles such as information architects, data security analysts and user experience (UX) designers. The generous compensation levels are due to high demand for these professionals.

“These highly specialized positions help companies implement essential projects, such as improving and securing the firm’s online presence across platforms, or gathering and analyzing business data,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. “Employers are willing to pay well for these roles because they allow organizations to take advantage of new technologies and gain a competitive edge.”

The Creative Group 2012 Salary Guide

The Creative Group 2012 Salary Guide, which can be downloaded free, identifies starting salary ranges for more than 100 positions related to interactive design, marketing, advertising, and public relations. The figures in the guide are national averages, but can be adjusted for more than 130 U.S. markets.

According to the The Creative Group 2012 Salary Guide, these three design jobs often pay six-figure salaries:

Interactive creative director­. These individuals lead interactive creative teams, composed of designers, writers and art directors, who together are responsible for visual and conceptual creative direction and user experience. Average base compensation is $93,500 to $150,000. The midpoint is $121,750.

Mobile applications developer. As companies strive to reach consumers on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, they need professionals who can develop applications for the small screen. Average starting salaries for mobile applications developers range from $85,000 to $122,500. The midpoint is $103,750.

User experience (UX) designer. Because so much customer interaction happens online, companies are looking for professionals who can create positive digital experiences. The average starting pay range for these individuals is $71,750 to $104,000. The midpoint is $87,875.

Other in-demand creative positions for 2012 include: video producer, web analytics specialist, web designer/developer, SEO (search engine optimization)/SEM (search engine marketing) specialist, and online project manager.  The job descriptions for all of the positions listed in the guide can be found in the Salary Center of The Creative Group website.


The Creative Group 2012 Salary Guide

 The Creative Group

Robert Half Technology 2012 Salary Guide

This guide covers salaries for a wide range of information technology positions. This year, analysts identified three in-demand jobs that can pay six-figure salaries.

Information architect. These individuals help define content strategy and design website features, as well as analyze audiences and their needs, in order to improve architecture and navigation. Base compensation for this position is between $78,250 and $116,000 on average. The midpoint is $97,125.

Business intelligence analyst ­. As companies strive to gather more information about their customers, they need professionals who can design and develop enterprise wide data analysis and reporting tools. Starting salaries range from $87,750 to $123,500 for this position, on average. The midpoint is $105,625.

Data security analyst. Security threats are constantly changing, and staff members who can analyze risk and protect against it are in demand. These workers can make between $89,000 and $121,500, on average. The midpoint is $105,250.


Robert Half Technology 2012 Salary Guide

Robert Half Technology


The Creative Group Publishes 2011 Salary Guide

DESIGNERS. WRITERS. The Creative Group, the staffing organization that places creative, advertising, marketing, web, and public relations professionals with a variety of firms, has published its 2011 Salary Guide. Designed to guide companies that plan to hire creative professionals this year, the guide features projected starting salaries for the more than 100 creative, interactive, marketing, and PR positions that The Creative Group recruits.

The Creative Group 2011 Salary GuideSome of the titles for which high and low projected starting salaries are listed include: creative director, interactive creative director, senior graphic designer, mobile apps designer, illustrator, technical illustrator, video producer, blogger, podcaster, online editor, web content writer, copywriter, proofreader, social media designer, SEO/SEM specialist, event/trade-show manager, marketing director, and PR agency account executive.

The content of the 2011 Salary Guide is based on thousands of freelance and full-time placements that The Creative Group makes each year. It includes local-market insights from staffing and recruiting teams in different cities, data from surveys of advertising and marketing executives, and an analysis of the 2011 hiring environment and trends.

For example, the report observes that “Although companies are gradually getting the green light to hire, they are still looking to maximize their budget dollars.” So, when hiring for full-time positions, they tend to seek candidates who have a range of skills and experience and can offer expertise outside their specialties.

The guide lists the nine most in-demand positions, average starting salaries nationwide, and methods for calculating and adjusting local salary ranges.

Not surprisingly, salaries have to be adjusted upward in cities such as San Francisco, Boston, San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Salaries tend to be lower than the national averages in cities such as: El Paso, Texas; Sioux City, Iowa; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Youngstown, Ohio. Cities with salaries right around the national average include: Salt Lake City, Utah; Milwaukee, WI; Cincinnati, OH; and St. Louis, MO.

The 2011 Salary Guide also explains “how to turn freelancers into rock stars.” The report notes that “Firms are finding that augmenting full-time staff with freelancers provides protection from staffing mistakes, whether the economy is contracting or expanding.”

The Creative Group is a division of Robert Half International, Inc., the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm.

The Creative Group’s 2011 Salary Guide is just one of several resources available through the Salary Center on The Creative Group’s website. A salary calculator and list of job descriptions are also available.

The resource center of the Robert Half International is another good source of career-development, staffing, and job-search advices. White papers include “Conducting an Online Job Search” and “The 30 Most Common Mistakes Managers Make in an Uncertain Economy.”