The Biggest Challenges Facing Creative and Digital Hiring in 2017

By Kelly McMahon on May 31, 2017 in Creative Hiring


As the rise of new technology and societal trends continue to change the world, entire industries are being reshaped at rapid speeds. For those hiring digital and creative talent, the changes have been profound and require adaptation. Job responsibilities are shifting, while brand new roles that were never heard of five years ago are exploding in demand. Here are the biggest challenges facing creative and digital hiring in 2017.

Tremendous Competition

Creative and digital minds form the bulk of the rapidly-expanding marketing and advertising industry. In fact, this sector is one of the fastest growing industries among Inc. 5000 companies, growing a whopping 186% in recent years with the trend expected to continue. While this shows that many business leaders are waking up to the value of advertising and digital talent in the modern age, such intense growth also brings an increase in competition. It is harder to stand out from the clutter of digital advertisements and reach consumers, and the same thing is happening when it comes to attracting the attention of top creative and digital talent.

As investment pours into the field, candidates are snapped up quickly and recruitment becomes extremely difficult. Recently, there were 1,345,997 marketing-related openings and a supply of 217,455 active candidates over the course of a single year. This chasm indicates available talent has many options and is in hot demand, likely fielding multiple offers. While the difficulty of locating talent is nothing new, it is now harder than ever before to convert candidates into employees.

Increasing Salaries and Benefits

Due to tremendous competition, the creative field is seeing stark increases in compensation in order to attract talent. Creative Directors in Chicago are earning up to $130,000, and Social Media Managers are earning an average of $68,419 with top performers bringing in over 100k. Marketing, Advertising, and Promotions Managers enjoy a median pay of $95,890 with employment expected to grow 9% through 2024. Organizations that are limited in their ability to offer an attractive salary will face an uphill battle for securing talent.

For detailed compensation figures, click here for your 2018 Creative & IT Salary Guide.

Outside of a high salary offer, creative organizations are being forced to think outside the box in order to recruit and keep employees. Rare benefits such as identity theft protection, pet insurance, and legal plans are just a few of the items creeping into job offers. Combined with flexible schedules, professional development opportunities, and volunteering programs, an exciting benefits package can make the difference between winning top creative talent and losing it to a competitor.

Authenticity and Transparency

People greatly value authenticity and honesty out of the brands they support, with 73% of consumers willing to pay more for a product that offers total transparency. While this mentality is understood by business leaders selling a product, it’s often forgotten by hiring managers when it comes to candidates. The top creative and digital talent wants to know everything they can about an organization before joining it. This large push for transparency in hiring, operations, and working conditions means organizations must scrutinize their recruiting processes, website, and social media platforms in order to offer a clear and honest account of what candidates can expect.

Trends Requiring Specialized Talent

One of the biggest difficulties facing creative and digital hiring in 2017 is the ability to secure the niche talent required to capitalize on the following rapidly-growing trends:

  • Mobile advertising: Having grown 66% in the last year, mobile advertising is required by companies serious about reaching consumers as mobile devices are increasingly used to access the internet. Creative minds that can craft campaigns for this arena as well as digital talent with experience in the specialty are some of the industry’s highest in demand.
  • Creative Technologist hybrid roles: Organizations looking to bridge the gap between designers and developers are looking for talent with experience in both creative and tech roles. Creative Managers who can code, Illustrators with web publishing experience, and other hybrid backgrounds are rising in popularity, in turn making such individuals harder to locate.
  • Vintage art and design methods: Design-heavy roles are experiencing a resurgence of older methods in drawing and typography, often blending them with new media channels. Talent versed in traditional art disciplines is unfortunately rare in today’s digital age.
  • Concise content: Modern technology and societal norms have squashed attention spans to a shockingly-low 25 seconds. Those who can produce concise content that effectively connects consumers to an intended message are highly-skilled individuals without many peers in the industry.

Challenges Facing Creative and Digital Hiring

The excitement of being part of a thriving industry brings with it a number of challenges that can hinder your creative and digital hiring in 2017. As competition for the best specialized talent rises along with salaries, recruiting the talent you need for success can be difficult without assistance from a proven and experienced staffing partner.

For additional market data affecting hiring in 2017, request your 2018 Creative Salary Guide today.