The Hottest Design Roles and How to Recruit for Them

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. Paul was recently featured in a GDUSA podcast exploring 2023 hiring and career trends. 


With today’s economic uncertainty, a lot of creative leaders might be asking themselves: What’s going on in the employment market? Is now a good time to hire? Well, there are few signs to indicate that the current job market isn’t losing steam.

A recent survey for the Demand for Skilled Talent report by Robert Half found that 58% of companies plan to hire for new roles in the first half of 2023, up from 46% in late 2022. Recruiting won’t be easy. Quit rates remain high, but that hasn’t translated into a conveyor belt of available talent. On the contrary, the pool of job seekers is shrinking, leaving nearly twice as many job openings as job seekers.

The outlook for the creative and marketing sectors looks much the same. Here we find that 59% of managers in this field are hiring for new roles in the first half of 2023 — and 84% report challenges in finding skilled talent.

What kind of roles are creative and marketing leaders looking to hire for? Graphic designers, digital designers and art directors are currently at the top of their wish lists, according to Robert Half research. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that demand for these roles will surge in the coming years, with a notably faster growth rate for digital designers than the average for all occupations.

So what can you do to attract and retain these highly sought professionals? While a competitive salary is often make-or-break, it’s not the only factor that counts. Highlight the following selling points about your company throughout the hiring process to stand out from the competition and appeal to top talent.


  1. Benefits And Perks That Matter

After compensation, benefits are the most important consideration for job candidates and are key differentiators between you and your competitors. Put them in job postings rather than waiting to mention them in interviews — this could make the difference between top talent applying to your company or scrolling right past. In addition to standard benefits like health insurance and paid time off, consider incentives such as matching 401(k) contributions up to a certain amount or providing life insurance coverage.

Perks go above and beyond the basics and can make all the difference in a candidate’s perception of you as an employer. Use them to your advantage by highlighting them during interviews or when making an offer. Design and creative professionals, who may prefer nontraditional working hours, often appreciate the autonomy of flextime or the option to work fully or partially from home. Other popular perks for this group include employee discounts on products or services related to their industry, paid parental leave and stipends to set up a home office.

  1. A Rewarding Company Culture

Is your company culture positive and inspiring enough to attract top talent? If so, share it with the world. Showcase your employees’ stories and experiences on your website or social media accounts. This shows potential candidates what it’s like to work for you and can entice them to join your team.

In addition, when your employees are happy and engaged, they become your best brand ambassadors. They’ll naturally spread the word to their talented friends and contacts, creating a pipeline of passive candidates who may not have been actively seeking a job but are open to new opportunities.

  1. Values That Go Beyond The Bottom Line

The values that a business upholds are another essential consideration for job seekers. This is particularly true for design and creative professionals, who are often directly involved in promoting a brand’s values and ethos.

To appeal to these candidates, be prepared to share details about your socially responsible activities and diversity and inclusion record during interviews. Also mention them in job postings if there’s room. By demonstrating your commitment to these values, you can show potential hires that your company is more than just a workplace — it’s where they can make a meaningful impact and be part of a positive community. Another way to woo values-driven candidates is to offer them VTO or volunteer time off. This allows them to help others without dipping into their paid leave.

  1. Professional Growth Opportunities

Talented creatives who want to stay at the top of their game seek a role with professional growth opportunities — and they’re precisely the motivated people you wish to employ. That’s why it’s good to inform strong candidates about opportunities for career advancement early during the hiring process, perhaps even during the initial interview. Make it clear that your company values employees’ development and wants to invest in their success. In practical terms, this could mean offering tuition assistance for professional certifications, reimbursement for memberships to design organizations or covering the cost of attending conferences and events.

In a continued tight labor market, it’s vital to convey to candidates what makes your company special. You already know your unique selling points, so tout them loud and proud. By communicating these areas of excellence early and often throughout the hiring process, you can position your company as an employer of choice and win over top design talent.