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Trends in Creative and Design Hiring

Behind every click, swipe, tap and scroll sits a creative designer. With the explosive growth in e-commerce, it’s essential to have websites and applications that guide the consumer easily and quickly, giving them the information they want and leading them to the check-out. Consequently, user experience/interface (UX/UI) and product design professionals are in high demand. 

Where the Jobs are Today

Many people still only think of “creative” as graphic design and marketing, but the reality is the field encompasses the huge boom in selling and buying products online. Whereas before, everything was in print, now everything consumers touch is digital. This in turn has shifted the focus on the user experience. Today, UX, customer experience (CX), data analysis, paid advertising and product design are all areas of growth. 

Industries like banking, insurance and healthcare that once only used synchronous, person-to-person communications have accelerated their digital products, and not just because of the pandemic. That has created more jobs than candidates in fields like product design, UX/UI design and UX research, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Glassdoor included UX designer and product designer in their recent list, “50 Best Jobs in America for 2021.”

Some e-commerce jobs are highly specialized, and some are more general. An interesting example is Amazon, the most successful online retailer in the world. A major arm of their business is the Amazon Marketplace, a platform that enables third-party sellers to offer their goods side-by-side with Amazon’s products. Sellers can have profile pages, buy digital ads on Amazon and use a host of other sophisticated tools. Consequently, there is a high demand for professionals who understand this platform and the entire Amazon suite of products.

We’re also seeing an urgent need for expertise in paid search, paid media, social media, Google Analytics and customer experience and remarketing. If a business isn’t upping their digital footprint, they’ll most likely be left behind. And even with the costs of hiring and paying these essential professionals, the return on investment is more than worth it. 

Moving at Warp Speed

But because there’s so much opportunity and competition for candidates in these fields, it’s hard to find talent. When you do find it, you often must convince the candidate to leave their current job. They might even have multiple offers already on the table.

The market has changed so quickly and dramatically – some salaries went up $30,000 in one year – that employers are having trouble shifting their mentality. Every day brings change. Someone you interviewed yesterday has accepted another offer. This is especially true in the creative space. IT, as important as it is, tends to have a longer sales cycle and more long-term contracts. In design, the cry is, “We need people ASAP.” 

This means employers have to act quickly and be flexible. Even before you conduct the first interview, schedule the second interview in case the candidate looks good. We can’t emphasize enough that hiring in this environment is moving at warp speed. If you can’t complete the interview process in two or three days, you stand a good chance of losing the candidate.

In this highly competitive market, employers must also be flexible about work arrangements. Even in the creative and design field, remote is becoming the norm. People are now used to working outside the office – and like it – and new virus variants are an added incentive to stay home. Employees are refusing to return to the office full-time, reports Bloomberg News, forcing businesses to offer more generous flexible work arrangements. Almost two-thirds of respondents in a January 2021 Livecareer.com survey agreed or strongly agreed that they would give preference to employers that offered remote work options. If you don’t find creative ways to provide perks and flex to candidates, you won’t attract top-tier talent.

Keeping Your Talent

In this environment, your star employees are probably getting lots of calls from recruiters – daily. Know the market value of the position. It may have changed dramatically since you hired the employee. Be prepared to adjust their salary or add benefits to keep them. Your CFO may not like this but it’s a lot more expensive to start a new search and lose the productivity of a seasoned professional. Check in with your employees. It’s always a good thing to do but even more important in this tight marketplace and during Covid. 

How important is flexible work arrangements to your employees? In a recent survey of 1,000 American adults, 39% said they would consider quitting if their employers didn’t offer remote working at least part-time. Among younger employees – millennials and Gen Z – 49%  said they might quit without these options. In a similar survey conducted in January 2021, 29% said they would consider leaving if they couldn’t work remotely. That’s a 10-point increase in only six months.

Up Your Game

The bottom line is that the creative and marketing labor marketplace has become incredibly competitive. Employers need to move fast in all aspects of the hiring process, from reviewing resumes to interviewing to offering the job. If you don’t, you won’t find the right talent that you need to keep your business in the game.

Photo Credit: Canva

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