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Challenges ahead for Creative Recruitment in the SW

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Our recent Creative Employment Survey revealed an optimistic outlook with 39.5% of respondents sure that growth is ahead. But what are the anticipated challenges that may lie ahead for the creative industries? Although 76.7% of respondents think that the SW had what it takes, enough of “the right” creative talent to equip this growth we wanted to drill a bit deeper…

To gather what those within the South West creative industries are experiencing and anticipating, we simply asked. Here our chat with Alexandra Shallish, Creative Director at ‘Six’ and the team at Sunhouse Creative. This is what they shared…

ADLIB: What current challenges are you facing when recruiting for your Creative Teams? Alexandra Shallish at ‘Six’: Over the last few years the skill sets of creatives has widened greatly, mainly to include digital. Making sure we continue to recruit so we cover the needs of our clients is vital. However it is balancing ‘all rounders’ with specialists; UX, animation, developers etc. Playing to people’s strengths is key and not falling into a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ mentality, but still making sure there is flexibility in the teams to work across a range of briefs.

Team Sunhouse Creative: An apparent lack of senior creative talent with relevant skills & expertise for our core business. We have a great team in place but bolstering that team, as our business rapidly grows, is taking time.

ADLIB: What challenges do you think are ahead, in near future, when recruiting for your Creative Teams?

Team Sunhouse Creative: As above. Without having a fully resourced senior creative team we will find it very hard to effectively up skill the more junior members of the studio.

Alexandra Shallish at ‘Six’: With technology playing a huge part in the future of business and of agencies, I see this adding to a need for more knowledge in the creatives we recruit. Yet technology and digital knowledge alone will never replace the conceptual thinking that needs to work alongside it. Making sure technology enhances clever thinking and emotive messaging. I see this as an exciting future, rather than challenging! It’s just something we need to remain conscious of.

Thank you for sharing!

As the Sunhouse team point out good senior creatives remain an elusive beast, there’s a lot of pieces that need to fall into place after all. Finding a portfolio that displays any given businesses version of a good idea can be truly challenging, especially in niche markets or specialisms. Pair that with getting the right cultural fit and attitude and it quickly becomes a heady mix. They are tough roles to crack but meeting with a mix of people (even if their experience on paper is a little off-piste) can help make sure you don’t miss any curve balls that could end up surprising you.

It’s clear that as technology evolves and client needs continue to diversify, the role of the specialist in a multidisciplinary agency is an important consideration. As Alexandra says, it’s all about balance. There’s a need for generalists and specialists alike but as an agency, identifying strengths and weaknesses is key to building a strong team. Where possible, giving individuals the opportunity to nurture skills outside of their core specialism (whether through training, hack days, events or personal projects) can help strengthen the agencies offering and flexibility. It’s also a great way to keep people engaged. We love to learn and challenge ourselves and the upshot is that it can help individuals feel more appreciated and like their employers are truly invested in them and their future.

This piece previously appeared on the ADLIB Blog.

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