Creative Circle’s Annual Pulse Survey – 2023 Edition

We recently asked leaders across the creative and marketing space about their pain points, preferences, and everything in between. Here’s what they said about it all! 

Content, Trends, and More! 

Here’s what they said about content preferences. Even when not actively hiring, managers are invested in keeping on top of trends.

  • 51% percent of hiring managers engage with content about industry-specific hiring trends
  • 31% keep up with interview and retention tips
  • 29% focus on their local market’s data
  • 26% keep tabs on newly available talent

Takeaway: Managers stay current on the latest hiring trends in the creative industry to be prepared when a hiring need arises. 


Hiring is Hard (Is Outsourcing The Solution?)

Here’s what they said about their team’s biggest hiring, talent, and resourcing obstacles. Creative and marketing teams are understaffed — 67% of respondents agreed that their team has too much work to do given their current headcount.

  • 46% of creative and marketing teams need to outsource some work to an external agency in order to keep their team afloat.
  • 25% are considering building an in-house creative team to have more control over the process (and because of the price tag — 21% admit they can’t afford high agency costs).

These are the instances in which leaders turn to recruitment or staffing partners to find new folks:

  • 59% partner with staffing agencies to support planned, budgeted projects
  • 27% need help with emergency, unbudgeted projects
  • 21% want to replace existing contract resources
  • 17% need staffing help when full-time employees are on extended leave
  • 13% partner to find contract resources during a hiring freeze

Takeaway: Creative teams are carrying the weight of a heavy workload — without the necessary staff to handle it. Managers are exploring options to help lighten their team’s load. These teams work with staffing partners for a variety of hiring needs but primarily when tackling the large projects on their docket. Freelancers, gig workers, and contingent labor are in a good position to capitalize on these labor trends! 



Where Do Managers Look for Service Partners?

Here’s what they said about conducting vendor searches. How do marketing and creative leaders find new service partners? In a lot of ways, it turns out.

  • 24% visit the company’s website
  • 19% ask a friend or colleague for a referral
  • 16% rely on one-to-one email outreach from sales reps
  • 11% look to marketing emails
  • 11% search their social media feeds
  • 2% attend webinars or other informational events

Takeaway: There’s no wrong way to find a new service partner. Above all else, leaders want a clear, concise message and a low barrier to entry.


How Do Managers Even Find Freelancers?!?

Here’s how and who helps makes the decisions about sourcing contractors. When not working with recruitment agencies, hiring managers turn to…

  • Their professional or personal networks (67%)
  • Job sites (think Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn) (40%)
  • Their internal HR department (38%)
  • Cloud labor sites (think Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal) (17%)
  • A web search for local contractors (14%)

When there is a vacancy on the creative or marketing team, this is who industry influencers say most impacts their hiring decisions:

  • The team’s director or manager (50%). They focus on defining the job requisite and evaluating potential hires.
  • The team’s senior leadership, from VP up to the C-suite (15%). They help their managers define the requirements and are critical to the final selection.
  • The company’s owner or partner (12%). They come in when it’s time to make a decision.
  • Other staff, including the new hire’s peers (8%). They play a part from start to finish.

Takeaway: Beyond partnering with staffing agencies, when seeking new contractors, nothing beats the assurance industry leaders receive from personal and professional connections. The bottom line for freelancers: your network matters.


Want to Learn More?

For the full breakdown of this year’s hiring trends, download the full report here.