Creative Outlook: Jan 2024

A recurring series highlighting current and emerging trends in the Creative, Digital & Marketing spaces.

The end of the year and the start of a new are times for reflection. The creative industry, like other sectors, endured a difficult 2023. The reasons for why are multiple and varied – but certainly interest rate hikes and the escalating cost of mission-critical software have created an uneasy economic climate for all. In such an environment, many companies have been forced to reduce headcount, with hiring and creative teams forced to exercise caution.

Tight Budgets, Close Partnerships

To weather the storm, clients have moved into a deep planning and assessment phase, especially when it comes to direct hire positions. Tightened budgets have also created a need for closer alignment between firms and their client partners. With hiring capacity stretched thin, recruiting teams have been called on to step to truly understand a client’s vision, needs, and candidate’s capacities.

The Growth of Contract Jobs for Creatives

The expectation is that many companies will steadily pivot towards hiring as market conditions improve. And to an extent, we’ve already seen this trend take shape since the summer in the contract market. In October and November, for instance, we saw 23 percent increase in job openings with our client partners. Of course, the holidays  brought another slowdown, with things steadily picking up again towards the end of December. Finalizing budgets and the start of a new year lead us to believe that this positive trend will take shape again in the early part of 2024.

“Many in our industry suddenly found themselves without a job in early 2023. But after the summer we saw companies expand their staff for various kinds of overflow work, whether that be creatives to help implementation of a new project, rollout of targeted initiatives, or even just extended coverage for things like maternity leave." - Krista Fisher

Creatives Getting Creative

To help fill the need for more overflow work, many candidates who in the past sought perm roles have now begun to embrace contract and consulting opportunities. After all, these positions provide a significant measure of stability, and an avenue to improve one’s skills and network with other industry professionals. For creatives, these perks are essential to career development and longevity. In contrast, we’ve also seen many candidates we work with hold out for a perm role. We will see what the new year brings, but generally these positions have been more competitive and in short supply for much of 2023.

Steady Expansion in Key Verticals

This steady uptick in opportunities is more present in certain sectors than others. In our world, gains include sectors such as Finance, Healthcare, as well as eCommerce and Retail.

Specific roles and skillsets include project management, email marketing, and creative support roles to assist with product launches. Notably, event planners are making a comeback as well, a sign that the impacts of 2020 are still felt in some aspects of the industry.

The Role of AI

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the role of artificial intelligence. The increasing rollout of generative AI tools has created a great deal of hype throughout the workforce as a whole. However, from our vantage point, demand for talent with these emerging skillsets has been mostly localized to the tech sector. As far as other industries, demand for talent with these skillsets has not been widespread, even though many creatives have begun to experiment with these new tools and have found ways to integrate them into their processes.

We’re excited to see what 2024 has in store. Though this past year was certainly a challenge, there were also a host of signs and trends that have us feeling things are on a positive trajectory, from an increase in overflow work, to a steady expanse of hiring in key industries.

About Planet Interactive

One of the largest creative recruitment companies in the US, Planet Interactive offers talent solutions focused solely on Creative, Digital & Marketing roles. ​

With a passion for design, a keen sense for technology trends, and an unwavering commitment to service excellence and long-term relationships, Planet Interactive matches all star creatives and digital marketers with exceptional opportunities across the globe.​

Looking for a new opportunity in the Creative, Digital & Marketing space? Find a position where you can apply your expertise and broaden your skillset today!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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