Market Update - mustard MD


We continue to see a rise in demand for experienced creatives with exposure to digital projects. Across both Agency and inhouse teams, budgets are being adjusted to reflect a reduction in the need for physical assets and an increase in the adoption of digital platforms and products. The last 9 months have also seen an obvious rise in the acceptance of remote work by creative and digital agencies. With many roles currently working 100% remotely and the vast majority of all other jobs in the creative industries being conducted from home. Talented creatives may now actively consider conducting their job search in a much large area. This opening of the market will inevitably result in a more competitive jobs market, but will also allow for greater specialism, for both employers AND employee. 

Whilst further restrictions on movement and work may be imposed between now and Christmas, we are seeing a positive increase in commercial optimism from all sectors. Many clients have developed robust systems that will allow them to continue to work efficiently even during any future lockdown. This has led to many more firms feeling comfortable to create a strategy that allows for an increase in headcount moving into 2021. This will surely be good news for the higher than normal number of job seekers. 

Other buoyant areas are packaging production, and packaging design, particularly within the FMCG sector. Large numbers of new and modified products are being brought to market and we’re seeing increased demand for strong candidates with commercial experience of these areas. UX design is another in-demand sector for our clients. Designers with a background in employee-facing products are particularly sought after right now, as many firms move to increase their ability to motivate and monitor their staff. This is a boom area both agency side and inhouse. 

In terms of working practices, we have seen an increase in demand for freelance and contract support. Whilst budgets are under tight control, we expect to continue. Some firms have made redundancies during and after lockdown and whilst they may not have the budget to increase their capacity permanently, an increase in demand for their services, will require them to bring creative talent into the business on a temporary or contract basis. We have also noticed a steep increase in successful candidates being offered 12-month fixed-term contracts as opposed to permanent contracts. This is intending to extend or convert these contracts when they have bigger budgets in place. 

All in all, we are seeing much more positivity across the wider market. There is a real feeling that now we have a better idea of what the new normal looks like, we can find ways to flourish. Whilst trading conditions for many firms will remain tough for the foreseeable future, other firms are developing new commercial channels and looking to grow and improve their offering by bringing new skills and specialisms into their business in 2021. 

This blog was written by Gareth Parsons, Recruitment Consultant - mustard MD. He covers all things Graphics, Digital and Marketing in the North of England. Whether you are a client or candidate he can be reached on 0117 284 0068 or at 

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