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Demand for creative professionals appears to be rather stagnant for the first half of this year, per results from a recent survey from The Creative Group. Just 5% of marketing and advertising executives surveyed plan to expand the number of creative positions available at their firm, down from 12% at this time last year.

At the same time, though, fewer executives are freezing positions (17%, down from 20%).

Instead, the vast majority are only filling vacated positions. The 78% doing so marks a considerable increase from 67% last year, indicating that rather than adding or removing positions, a growing portion of companies are simply planning to maintain the status quo during the first 6 months of the year.

What does seem to be changing is the difficulty in finding the right talent. A majority (53%) of respondents to this latest survey said they find it challenging to find creative professionals today. That’s up from 45% in the prior survey conducted 6 months earlier.

That aligns with recent research from Warc. On a global level, marketers and agencies pointed to talent as one of their biggest industry concerns heading into 2018.

Executives may need to be flexible with their budgets to attract their top candidates. An earlier survey from The Creative Group noted that a majority (57%) would be open to negotiating compensation when extending a job offer to a job candidate. Overall, US CMOs spend more on labor than on paid media, services or marketing technology, per research from Gartner, though several studies indicate that personnel constraints are holding back marketers and advertisers.

Execs Target Content Marketing Talent

When asked their top areas for hiring in early 2018, those executives planning to add staff were most likely to cite content marketing (25%) as an area in need of hiring. That’s supported by earlier research likewise revealing that content creation and curation is a top area in demand.

Beyond content marketing, other top areas for hiring include brand/product management (23%), digital marketing (22%), marketing research (20%) and copywriting (20%).

Some of these areas in high demand also emerge as ones that are difficult to fill. According to the survey results, the hardest roles to fill are in web design/production, marketing research, brand/product management, and digital marketing.

Digital marketing is perceived by CMOs to be the most important skill for marketing team success today, but also features among the most difficult to find when building a team.

It’s unlikely that demand for digital marketing skills will wane anytime soon…

About the Data: The results are based on telephone interviews with roughly 200 marketing executives from companies with at least 100 employees and 200 advertising executives from agencies with 20 or more employees.

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