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Ask Lawrence: What are the trends we might be seeing next?

12 Jun 10:00 By Lawrence Akers

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It seems inevitable that when I speak to anyone about the current job market, I need to remind them that I don't have my crystal ball technology working just yet. While many experienced recruiters may have gone through a recession or global financial crisis in their time, we've not necessarily had a pandemic thrown in on top of that to complicate it a little bit more.

Having said that, we could make an educated guess on what we think might happen next in terms of work opportunities in the creative sector. This week, I'm going to attempt to guess what we might see next.

The Return of Freelance

I suspect we're going to look back on 2020 and see that what kept everyone going was freelance.

Inevitably in any economic downturn, businesses may be forced to let go of their teams.

As things start to find momentum again, budgets will still be tight however it will become more and more obvious that additional resources will be needed.

As a result of that, we'll start to see a return of more short term freelance opportunities coming through to assist with the overflow.

More Working From Home

This might seem pretty obvious given that we're in a pandemic however the norm has always been to work on site with clients in the past.

This is obviously due to how many studios are set up with a central server required for storing work, along with a desire to be more available for the freelance creative to ask questions as required and to be directed.

The pandemic has changed this and even with a decrease in community transmission, you might expect that there may be new WHS requirements established overtime regarding the use of a shared space and spare computer.

If this pandemic has shown us anything, it is that many of us are more than capable of working from home. There will be some who struggle with this over time; many creatives love being able to bounce ideas off each other and working by yourself over an extended period can become quite a lonely experience. These will be the next challenges to face in terms of how to over come this.

Realistically though, is this the potential end of hot desking and freelance stations? Until further notice, that is a possibility.

The Return of the Frankenbrief

During the GFC, many businesses had to let go of some of their team. Then as things improved, they found that they were given some budget to re-employ. The challenge was about how you made a budget for one person work when you really needed the four people you let go back?

What seemed to happen was that they would get the job descriptions of the four people they wanted out, take the most important part of each and then mash it all together into one job description that I referred to as 'the Frankenbrief'.

This is also known in some circles as 'a unicorn'.

I don't mean that sarcastically. Ok, maybe I do a little. The reality is that this is the best description though because it often took some wildly different skillsets and placed them all together.

As I've been talking to creatives over the past few months, one of the things I have been stressing with them is that this is a great time to do some reflection on what skill gaps that you might have and to take some time to begin to close them. If you can't use this time to earn money, then at least use this time to learn a new skillset that will eventually earn you money. If you know that things are moving towards digital and you have no experience in that area, then you NEED to get on top of it now because when things start to pick up again and people are hiring, they will be looking for a unicorn. Use this time to become a unicorn.

Be Innovative

The people who use innovative thinking and who consider 'how else' they can offer their service are the ones who are going to not only survive but to get to the other side stronger than ever.

Adapt. Pivot. Re-purpose. Doesn't matter what word you wish to use, it's all pointing the same way; if you can't continue to do what you've done previous to the pandemic right now, then you need to consider what is missing for you that is preventing you from doing it and close that gap. As things pick up, people are still going to need to communicate their business and what they offer and that is going to need graphic designers and design consultants. Consider innovative and creative ways in which you can achieve this so that you're in front of your potential clients right now and offering value.