How creative leaders are adapting to new tech

A poll of advertising and marketing managers reveals the barriers to integrating things like AI into their teams.

Creative leaders are split when it comes to how confident they are in adapting to the changes that come with new technology, according to a recent survey.

The results come from a survey – which included 400 managers working in creative advertising and marketing  by recruitment firm The Creative Group.

When asked about how well their teams were able to adapt to new technology, 46% described it as “challenging,” while 54% described it as “easy.” However, fewer respondents have a difficult time adapting to changes made to internal processes, with 39% describing it as challenging. Meanwhile, 38% expressed difficulties in adapting to changes made to staffing and leadership, and 36% said the same of changes made to the business direction.

The Creative Group’s parent firm, Robert Half, recently ran its own survey about the impact of AI and technology to the workforce, polling 1,200 managers, including 250 in marketing and advertising.

When asked what they expect to be the most disruptive technology in the next five years, the top response among advertising and marketing managers was AI and machine learning, followed by virtual and augmented reality and automation. The most commonly identified barrier to adapting to these new technologies was resistance to change from the creative team itself, followed by difficulty in integrating new technology with legacy systems; efforts to adapt the new technology outweighing the benefits; and insufficient training provided to employees.

Nearly half of the managers surveyed (48%) said technology will require new skills from employees. However, 55% believe demand is greatest for “soft skills,” particularly when it comes to strategic thinking, leadership and communication.

When it comes to addressing the need for training, 87% of managers said they will provide development opportunities to help creative employees learn about new tech, such as in-person training, seminars and online courses. Roughly half plan to hire more specialized talent to ensure their teams can take advantage of new technologies  among them, 76% acknowledged a challenge in finding expertise relevant to the tech their company plans to implement.