Majority of industry plans to hire more creatives in 2019

A survey of hiring managers shows freelance talent and web-focused skills will be priorities.

Nearly two-thirds of companies in advertising and marketing plan to grow in the year ahead, and not just when it comes to full-time staff, a recent survey shows.

Conducted by recruiting firm The Creative Group, the survey polled over 200 advertising and marketing staff who make decisions on hiring.

The survey found 61% of employers plan to expand their creative staff in the first half of 2019, with 37% planning to stay at roughly the same level and mostly hire to fill empty positions. What’s more, 48% expect to expand the number of freelancers on staff in the first six months of next year.

Only 1% say they planned to eliminate positions, with another 1% saying they plan to have a creative hiring freeze.

The top areas for hiring in the year ahead, according to the respondents, are web and mobile development and production, followed by creative development, user experience, social media and digital marketing.

When it comes to hurdles in the hiring process, 89% of respondents describe it as “challenging” to find creative professionals qualified for their positions. On the flip side, 77% say they are worried about losing current creative staff members to other job opportunities in the year ahead.

The biggest criteria for 32% of employers is a candidate’s interview performance, followed by 24% who say previous experience. Some hiring managers are also loosening their requirements, with 70% saying they are more willing to bring on a candidate who has relevant certifications instead of college degree than they were a year ago.

On the side of the staff being hired, 44% of employers say a flexible work schedule was the most sought-after perk they heard from potential new hires, followed by 20% who say professional development opportunities.

“Building a strong creative team requires much more than identifying individuals with the necessary technical skills,” said Deborah Bottineau, district president of The Creative Group in Canada. “Professionals are increasingly attracted and committed to companies whose values align with their own, which means assessing a candidates’ potential workplace fit is just as essential. To attract the best people for the job and organization, employers must be proactive in promoting an authentic corporate culture and defining what makes their company a great place to work.”