The Demand For Skilled Creative Talent: Trends & Strategies For 2024

By Lucy Marino, executive director of the marketing and creative practice at global talent solutions firm Robert Half, which connects employers with skilled marketing, creative, digital, advertising and public relations professionals to meet their specialized recruiting needs. Marino manages strategy and operations for the company’s marketing and creative talent solutions teams across U.S. locations.




There’s no easing up in the race for creative talent in 2024. Robert Half’s latest Demand for Skilled Talent Report finds that 55% of creative and marketing managers are hiring for new roles, from graphic designer to UX designers, while 43% need to recruit for vacant positions. Yet a staggering 92% say they face hurdles finding candidates with the necessary skills. What separates the successful 8% from the rest? Let’s unpack some strategies that can make a difference in the quest for top creative talent.


Salary and Transparency: More Than Just Numbers

Tired of the refrain that paying higher salaries is the only way to attract talent? Even if you’re already using the Robert Half Salary Guide to ensure your offers match or, better yet, surpass the going rates in your area, it’s time to think beyond the paycheck. The entire compensation package deserves attention, especially regarding the unique preferences of creative professionals. Tailored perks could include continuous learning opportunities to hone their craft, access to the latest design tools and software, or flexible schedules that allow creatives to find inspiration outside conventional office hours.

Clear communication about compensation is also vital in a sector known for emphasizing collaboration and openness. Robert Half research shows that 83% of managers now include salary ranges in job listings, a strategy that a majority (63%) say helps attract that best job candidates. Perhaps most important, 60% of those leaders feel this transparency gives their firm an edge over other firms looking for talent.


Building A Talent Community: Beyond the Resume

A talent community, or talent network, is a curated pool of candidates who have shown interest in your organization, functioning as a lead-generation tool for recruitment. This approach attempts to engage potential hires through ongoing communication, with a goal of ensuring your company remains at the forefront of their job search. Think of it as shifting gears from passively waiting for the right talent to actively keeping a bench of potential, interested candidates.

Make your talent community easy to join by adding a straightforward form on your careers page or alongside job ads, inviting creatives to drop in their details if they’d like to receive updates about open roles at your company. This little nudge is your first step toward building a database of people keen to know more about your business.

Engage your talent network with regular updates that resonate with the candidates you want to attract. Share updates on new job postings, showcase groundbreaking work by your company, and highlight opportunities for networking. Spark conversations with your community and foster anticipation of future openings.


Employee Referral Programs: Harnessing In-house Networks

Finding the right creative talent means looking beyond skills to how well candidates mesh with your work culture — a task that half of the managers surveyed by Robert Half admit to finding challenging. This is where employee referral programs can be helpful. They harness your team’s insights and connections to identify candidates who not only have the right skills but are also likely to share your company’s vision and values.

Enhancing your referral program with financial incentives doesn’t just boost the bank balance of people who make valuable referrals. It also lifts their morale and loyalty. This approach empowers everyone to help shape the team’s composition, fostering a sense of ownership and collective success.


Flexibility as a Competitive Edge

As many companies shift towards return to office policies, you have the chance to stand out as an employer of choice by offering more flexibility, not less. By embracing remote work arrangements, you widen your talent search across borders and cater to varying needs, such as supporting parents with young children. This strategy, supplemented by collaborative tools like Adobe Creative Cloud and Slack, ensures that creatives can thrive regardless of location.

While full-time office workers can’t benefit from fully remote work locations, a hybrid approach along with flexible scheduling, such as adjusted start times or compressed workweeks, may be very welcome. This also has the advantage of nurturing your employer brand as forward-thinking and committed to meeting the evolving needs of your workforce.


 Adopting a Scalable Talent Model

In 2024, companies are increasingly turning to a mix of core permanent staff and contract professionals. Sixty-eight percent of creative and marketing employers plan to boost their use of contract professionals. Known as the scalable talent model, this approach allows you to bring in support for your team during busy times, address skills gaps quickly and revitalize your teams with fresh perspectives. Teaming up with talent solutions firms smooths out this process, giving you quick access to a vetted candidate pool, ready to jump in as either long-term players or short-term problem solvers.


Focus on Retention: Keeping the Talent You Have

With 24% of marketing and creative professionals eyeing new opportunities in the first half of 2024, and 31% actively job hunting, holding onto top talent is more crucial than ever. Success in retention hinges on genuinely understanding what drives your team — is it primarily competitive salaries, superior benefits, workplace flexibility, career advancement potential or all of the above? Work with your team to lay out career paths and acknowledge key achievements with promotions, perks or a simple (and cost-free) thank-you for a job well done.

If a top performer decides to leave, don’t waste energy on counteroffers, which usually only delay the inevitable. Instead, wish them all the best and encourage them to stay connected via your talent community. If they choose to return, bringing enhanced skills and fresh perspectives, they become invaluable “boomerang hires” and further strengthen your team.


Success in the creative job market requires more than just tweaking how you hire — it’s about shaping your employer brand and how potential employees view you. To win the talent race, you must be quick to adapt, fearless of innovation, and, most crucially, tuned in to the needs of the people who will drive your future growth.