By Paul Flaharty, executive director of the marketing and creative practice at global talent solutions firm Robert Half, which connects professionals with companies hiring in marketing, creative, digital, advertising and public relations. His primary responsibility is to develop and oversee the growth strategy for the company’s marketing and creative contract talent solutions teams across the United States. More about Paul below.
It’s been a stop-start couple of years for the creative industries. The up-and-down swings of the pandemic have left designers dealing with unprecedented disruption as businesses cancelled or postponed many projects. Though many creatives bounced back strongly last year, they and plenty of others may have a lot more leverage in 2022.
Early signs suggest now’s a great time to make a move. Robert Half’s latest report on The Demand for Skilled Talent reveals that 69% of creative and marketing leaders plan to add new roles to their teams over the next few months. So what are some key trends driving their recruitment strategies? And how can job seekers use them to propel their career to new heights?
A Very Candidate-Friendly Market
With workers voluntarily leaving their jobs at record rates — contributing to an industrywide talent shortage and high competition for top candidates — the vast majority (94%) of senior managers in marketing and creative fields said it’s challenging to find skilled professionals right now. And 85% expressed concern about losing valued employees. This employer anxiety puts job seekers and current employees in a great position to aim high and have confidence when negotiating salary, working arrangements and elevated roles.
6 Tips For Your Creative Career Move
Whether you’re looking to climb a rung in your current career or try something completely different, these tips can help you plan your move.
1. GO WHERE THE GROWTH IS.
As firms push forward with their priorities for 2022, they need the right talent in place. Specialists in digital marketing, digital design and production, and project management are particularly sought-after to improve customer experience, strengthen brand messaging and implement digital strategies. Creatives looking to fast-track their careers might consider stepping into one of these growth areas.
2. TAKE TIME TO FOCUS.
The last couple of years have given people a new perspective. Rather than knee-jerking into a new position, try to pinpoint your motivation. Have you outgrown your current role and feel ready for more responsibility? Perhaps you’re looking to broaden your skill set and do something totally different. Or maybe you just want a less stressful role and better work-life balance. Knowing what you want will help you identify the next step of your career path and narrow down roles to apply for.
3. DETERMINE THE LEVEL OF FLEXIBILITY YOU NEED.
When it comes to your work arrangements, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Some designers thrive on bouncing ideas around in a shared physical space. Others have found that a remote environment is ideal for deep creative focus. Indeed, 60% of marketing and creative professionals said they plan to look for a new job with remote work options if their current employer requires them to return to the office. If you’re one of the 40% who would be prepared to resume an on-site schedule, that could give you an advantage over less flexible candidates with some employers.
4. HIGHLIGHT YOUR ABILITY TO EFFECTIVELY TELECOMMUTE.
For those who’d rather work remotely, doing so requires a different skill set than being in an office. When applying for a remote or hybrid role, you need to prove you have what it takes to be highly productive from home. Mention scenarios in your cover letter that demonstrate your capability. For example, ‘I led a dispersed team from different departments through multiple decision-making processes and completed the project on deadline’ shows good communication, reliability and autonomy. Reinforce this message on your resume by including sections that showcase your digital literacy and soft skills.
5. LEARN TO SPOT WHETHER A JOB HAS GROWTH POTENTIAL.
If it’s growth opportunities you’re after, you may need to read between the lines. If you have all the must-have and nice-to-have traits and skills listed in the job description, you may be aiming too low. In such a heavily candidate-driven job market, you might consider going for a role that offers more challenge and the opportunity to develop new skills. You can also tell a lot by checking out the career paths of former and current employees. Look at their LinkedIn profiles and note how long they stayed in their role, whether they moved up from within the firm and where they landed after they left — did they leap to a more senior position at a prestigious company or take a lateral move?
6. REMEMBER THAT THE SALARY OFFER ISN’T ALWAYS FINAL.
If you have specialized skills and an impressive resume, you’re in a good position to negotiate salary — but make sure you do your homework. Benchmark any offers you receive against salaries for similar roles in your area as listed in the 2022 Salary Guide From Robert Half. Consider perks and benefits as part of the final package: Bonuses, healthcare, education subsidies and paid time off can help sweeten the deal. And remember that candidates have more leverage to negotiate once they’ve been offered the job.
With the creative industries riding a wave of momentum, there should be no shortage of opportunities to further sharpen your skills and develop your career in 2022. You may not land your dream job right off the bat, but you can put yourself in a great position to get there soon.
More About Paul Flaharty
As noted above, Paul Flaharty is executive director of the marketing and creative practice at global talent solutions firm Robert Half. Paul began his career with Robert Half in New York City in 2005. After seven years of building successful operations in the tri-state area, he relocated to Los Angeles. Paul has held several leadership positions, including division director, regional vice president and district director. He most recently oversaw operations throughout Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area for the company’s technology and marketing and creative practices. Paul is a spokesperson for Robert Half and frequently quoted expert on various hiring trends and workplace topics. A graduate of Cornell University, Paul is now based in Los Angeles and is proud to be raising two incredible children.