Gloss Creative Recruitment compiled this survey based on a questionnaire sent to 3242 qualified creative professionals in Yorkshire across the Creative Industries (digital, marketing, and creative); our 2023 survey; and insights gathered from our recruitment partners.
The job market has been impacted by global instability, political turmoil, and economic turbulence since the reset and recovery in the first half of 2022. Despite this, the creative industries outperformed the UK economy, demonstrating the sector's resilience and perseverance.
We have seen the market rebalance over the last 12 months, with employers and job seekers being much more cautious in their approach. During the post-pandemic recovery, many businesses hired aggressively and made decisions based on the high volume of work they had.
However, there is still a high demand for skilled workers, and businesses have continued to improve remuneration and benefit packages to attract and retain talent, resulting in permanent salary increases in the last year. Despite these increases, many employees have continued to live in poverty because of the cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation (higher than wage inflation).
As a result, it's not surprising that salaries are regarded as the most important factor for job seekers, with job security also ranking high as candidates enter the market with trepidation and the threat of a (narrowly avoided) recession. As a result, employees are focusing on how to re-energize their current roles, while employers are attempting to make the most of the existing workforce.
The disparity in how employers balance market challenges, productivity, performance, and employee expectations, particularly around the role of the office and hybrid working, is one of the most significant challenges ahead. Many survey participants are currently hybrid, working with fixed hours or fixed days, but only a small percentage preferred this way of working, with many people preferring a fully flexible workplace policy.
Despite this, many businesses have begun to mandate days back in the office, with many taking advantage of the downturn to reset and rebalance their working practises and employee expectations.
In the creative industries, a new emphasis on DE&I has emerged, and while representation and pay gaps have improved for some, this is still an area that has received little attention.
As one of Yorkshire's longest-established creative recruitment agencies, we are committed to working towards a more equitable future for all. We hope that this year's survey will help our clients create opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion soon.
Despite a turbulent last six months and the media highlighting the threat of AI to our industry, there are some signs of hope, and we should be optimistic about the year ahead. Please contact us if you'd like to discuss the market, your current challenges, or your attraction and retention strategies. Similarly, if you're looking for new opportunities, contact your recruitment partner.
THE YORKSHIRE CREATIVE SECTOR
THE CREATIVE SECTOR IS DIRECTING THE POST-PANDEMIC RECOVERY
The creative industries in the United Kingdom continue to be a key driver of economic growth in the country, contributing more to the economy than life sciences, automotive manufacturing, aerospace, and oil and gas combined.
According to a recent BBC report, the creative industries are expected to double between 2020 and 2030, with employment increasing. Part of this expansion will be due to greater convergence between creative and technological disciplines.
Despite this optimistic forecast, there are challenges ahead that will stymie the creative industries' continued recovery and growth. These are some examples:
► Talent shortages, acute skill shortages, and other workforce issues affecting the sector
► Artificial intelligence's impact
► How can we ensure that people from all backgrounds have equal access to the creative industries and the arts?
Aside from the issues, businesses continue to face additional challenges, such as the ongoing effects of Brexit, inflation, energy and fuel prices, and the cost-of-living crisis.
While the path to recovery and expansion will differ for each business and industry, what is common is the need for strategic planning, flexibility, and an emphasis on attraction and retention strategies that allow for long-term growth.
IMPORTANT INDUSTRY TRENDS
Over the last year, the market has shifted from a candidate-driven one, with more jobs than candidates, to a more balanced one, with fewer vacancies and an increase in job seekers.
Despite this, there is still a high demand for skilled workers, and companies have continued to improve remuneration and benefit packages in order to attract and retain talent.
INTERNAL MOBILITY AND RECALIBRATION
As talent needs continue to lean towards personal development, businesses are advised to look at their progression offering more closely, to better attract both new and potential, 'boomerang employees'. The latter are ex-employees who return to previous employment - a growing trend. The advantage of such moves is that those who return already know the business and often have a shorter learning curve. As a result of their renewed knowledge base, key market intelligence, and new perspective, they are also well positioned to contribute to business success sooner. Some companies also allow employees to work freelance or on a more flexible / part-time basis.
Many employers in the creative industries report skill shortages, either because they are unable to find someone with the necessary skills or because those in current positions are insufficiently skilled. Businesses face several challenges as a result of the current skills gap, including innovation, transformation, and competitiveness. It has become critical for businesses to retain their most valuable employees.
THE RISE OF AI AND DIGITAL INNOVATION
The digital marketplace has created a business imperative that every company must become a technology company in some shape or form. Marketing and technology must now be bridged together with their own department - one that understands both sides of the spectrum and can easily merge the two for a company's competitive advantage.
To creatively service a variety of digital services and products, marketing and technology roles have become increasingly more aligned as businesses seek multi-faceted hires who can streamline costs, drive efficiency, and ensure consistent values and culture across the business.
In the broader tech world, 'generative AI,' which consists primarily of large language models and foundation models, is becoming standard fare for any company looking to compete in the future.
With the sheer volume of data and insights required to drive solutions to the problems that enterprises face, business leaders are leveraging the full potential of next-generation AI to gain a competitive advantage.
Businesses have begun to approach many tasks and challenges differently since the launch of ChatGPT, shifting their focus to learning to build with AI. The introduction of foundation models is arguably one of the most significant technological advances in recent times, but it now poses a moral quandary for organisations, particularly in terms of how employers upskill their talent as AI becomes more integrated into work practises.
THE WORKPLACE'S FUTURE
The role of the workplace has evolved over the last year and will continue to evolve as businesses struggle to balance market challenges, productivity, and employee expectations. Macroeconomic conditions have influenced how the creative sector responds to an uncertain short-term future.
Company leaders are attempting to innovate in order to retain corporate culture, and many are still attempting to return employees to the office; however, studies and our data show that many employees value flexible work. According to our survey, many workers stated that they would prefer to work under a fully flexible policy if possible, indicating that there is a mismatch between what employers and employees want.
Many corporations have recently announced that employees should return to work to increase face-to-face benefits such as company culture and cross-division collaboration.
Businesses are willing to experiment with new ways of working, and we have seen many clients implement four-day work weeks in order to support a better work-life balance.
PERKS AND BENEFITS
Workers' desires have shifted over the last few years, and while remuneration remains important, benefits are also important to our survey participants.
The most important benefit remains the holiday allowance, with some companies even offering unlimited holiday allowance to support a more positive work/life balance!