Trends in Design Recruitment
27 JAN 2020

Published by Kandice Menzie


Trends in Design Recruitment

The start of a new year - sorry decade- brings change, alas not in terms of GDP (which economists have predicted will grow slightly or not at all in 2020); but, in terms of attitudes within design recruitment, 2020 is set to be game-changing. Here are the 4 major trends we have identified, that you can expect to see this year:

On the go recruiting 

Hate it or love it, the trend for communicating with recruiters via both email and text message is likely to grow in 2020. Social media will also play an increasingly important role in the recruitment process with reaching out about a role on Instagram or Twitter being just as normal as it is on LinkedIn.

Job searches from mobile devices now exceed one billion per month

The line between work and private life will continue to blur. But that's unsurprising since we are rarely more than an arm's length from our smartphones, and most creatives treat Instagram like their second portfolio's, or sometimes their only portfolio's. We are also more likely to give a prompt response to a text message than an email, so most recruiters to choose that medium to communicate simply because of its response rate. 

There is immense potential for a recruiter who improves their mobile recruitment process. 

Both candidates, companies and recruiters should get savvy to this trend by brushing up their mobile presence. Recruiters should look at making their job application process as swift as possible and incorporating non-traditional social media's into their search strategies; whilst both agencies and candidates can make sure the right attention will be paid to them by having a website or portfolio that is built for mobile. 

90% of job seekers now utilise a mobile device when looking for a new opportunity.

As more and more creatives seek visibility through self-promotion on social media and more businesses seek recruiters who can use their resourcefulness to find them the best available talent, you can expect this trend to stick around. 

A stronger focus on Employee Wellbeing

In 2020 employee experience (EX) will become a key focus for HR departments.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has disclosed that 17.5 million sick days were taken in 2019 by workers who cited mental health conditions. The share of men's overall sick days for mental health reasons rose from 5.7 per cent in 2017 to 8.5 per cent, while among women it rose from 8.1 to 8.8 per cent. This increase is likely to continue as employees become more comfortable with approaching their seniors to discuss intangible reasons for their workplace discontent.

Your company will work for its employees — not just the other way around

This year wellbeing will continue to be a major area of interest, encouraging companies to invest more time and money into team-building days, PDP’s (personal development plans) and even in-house Happiness Officer’s who can monitor the productivity of the company in relation to the team’s welfare.

As a new generation of talent enters the workforce, they will bring with them the expectation of a flexible work structure and the desire to work wherever and however they wish. To draw the best of the best into their offices, companies will adopt a less-traditional approach to working; either by adjusting their hours or introducing a remote working option.

More companies will understand that where you do the work doesn’t matter, as long as it gets done.

Hyper-focused recruiting

Top talent are selective with their job applications and it is unlikely you’ll find them on generic job boards; as companies in design come to understand this they will enlist the help of specialist creative recruiters who have a Rolodex full of uber-talented creatives.

More diversity in your office

The term “unconscious bias” was (quite rightly) on the tip of everyone’s tongues in 2019. The lack of diversity in design within areas such as age, disability, race, religion, gender, social class and sexual orientation, had an uncomfortably bright light shone over it, forcing many companies to react by introducing Diversity Quota’s or at the least, attend a seminar or two.

There will be a further push from the outside in, for better representation in 2020

In 2020, the UK design industry is still mostly white, and male (78%), however with organisations such as Kerning the Gap stepping on the necks of decision-makers, “Unconscious bias’s” will continue to be slain this year (we’ve actually written a blog about how challenging yours can benefit your business, so check that out here).

With the average age of retirement rising, and bias’s towards age lowering; it is also likely that workplaces will become increasingly multi-generational spaces, with several demographics (i.e., Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z), working together.

Digital dominance

Digital design is the fastest-growing part of the design economy and Digital Designer now accounts for just over one in three design roles.

The number of digital design firms has more than doubled since 2010, growing to 35,000 firms in 2016 (Design Week, 2018). This is unlikely to slow down; in fact, 2020 may be the year that digital-reliance makes its way into the HR and recruiting sector.

Data-analysis or ‘People analytics’ will become common practice when it comes to measuring and improving HR and hiring operations. The most common uses for data are currently: measuring employee performance (68% of companies), workforce planning (58%), and evaluating recruiting channels (48%) however uses are likely to grow; heralding a new era for HR. (Linkedin Global Talent Report,2020)

Did you enjoy that? Whilst you’re here, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter; or if you have a specific enquiry you can contact us here.


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