Formalise training in the design and digital industry.

The design and digital industry is an exciting place to work.  It is a world where people change jobs often and experience working in different creative environments on new projects and with new clients all the time. It is an industry that is used to churn and where freelancers are embraced. This year’s Design Industry Voices Report shows that it is also an industry where salaries are growing and bonuses are being paid.

The challenge is providing people with the skills to lead the industry. The report shows that while formal training through a degree or a course is the best way into the design and digital parts of the industry, there is no comparable route for those in account management or strategy.

In account management and strategy, agency staff value learning by working their way up from a junior position. However, agencies are poor at supporting professional development or growth, and respondents do not consider fellowships and internships that useful. The industry needs to find a formal, structured way to provide the skills needed for successful account management and strategy.

Agencies are affected by the commercial realities of their clients in tough economic times. The client demands for more work for less money, the increased free creative pitching and the reduction of budgets reflect a tough, new reality.

It is staff in account management and strategy that must understand those pressures. They must ensure that clients realise the value of the work they commission and be able to demonstrate its impact.

Account managers have to carefully manage the relationships, juggle the budgets and not only win pitches with new clients, but also to continually win existing clients through day-to-day delivery. Good strategists must learn the art of finding an insight and ensuring that the creative is effective.

This will, I think, also help agencies continue to be profitable and successful in the very different world they and their clients now inhabit.

For the full report please download here

Clients expect more for less finds 2013 Design Industry Voices survey.

The headlines

  1. Clients are putting pressure on agencies to do more for less. The number of free creative pitches for existing clients is perceived to be rising. The longer pitch process continues to be an issue for the industry.
  2. Over half (53.7%)of respondents intend to change job and about the same proportion (58.6%) perceive that agencies are employing fewer permanent staff. These proportions are a little lower than those found in 2012.
  3. Almost two thirds (63.4%) of respondents have received a pay rise in the last two years. Pay rises in the last year have outstripped inflation. A quarter of respondents (27.7%) have received a bonus in the last year.
  4. Working your way up from a junior position is considered the best form of training in the industry. Design and digital are the areas where a relevant degree or course is most highly rated as a form of training. Two fifths of respondents (40.5%) still consider that agencies perform badly in terms of supporting professional development.

For the full report please download here