More C-suite contract jobs and in-housing growth to come

by Oliver McAteer 

Talent recruiters and acquisitions specialists Grace Blue lays out its 2019 industry predictions.

If you can’t feel the tectonic shift of adland already, you’re doing it wrong.

The new year will bring about more deal-breaking change as the industry continues its epic metamorphosis.

On the cards is the growth of in-housing, a need for public diversity statistics and transformation of C-suite career models.

“When it comes to talent in the marketing and communications world,  2019 will be the year of evolution by necessity– so get ready for a lot of unpredictable change,” Claire Telling, joint CEO at talent recruiters and acquisition specialists Grace Blue, told Campaign US.

“A tumultuous economy and rapidly changing tech landscape will prompt C-suite leaders to pursue non-linear career paths in ways we haven’t seen before. And companies which want to retain best-in-class people will need rethink their talent strategies to stay ahead of a new power shift towards the employee.

“Based on our work with global corporate leaders across marketing, media, sports, and entertainment, here are Grace Blue’s predictions for what to expect in the year ahead.”

C-suite leaders will be hired more frequently on a contract basis by brands
Some of the most talented and senior leaders in the creative industry are choosing to work a different way. They love the work but don’t want to be confined to a traditional agency structure.

These leaders are opting out to work in short stints on the specific needs of brands –just as an actor or a producer would work on a movie. They can work flexibly on brands they believe in and access a variety of different projects. We predict the birth of the “end-to-end career agent” Hollywood model in the marketing industry as C-suite talent looks to innovate their career path.

Diversity and inclusion statistics will go transparent
Having a good D&I policy will no longer be enough to entice top talent. Companies will be asked to go public with their D&I statistics and to use regulated applicant tracking systems to ensure that a more diverse workforce is getting a chance at employment.

Retention strategies will also become more visible, as diverse talent wants reassurance that once they are hired they will feel welcomed and included.

In-house agencies will continue to grow, but with a continued reliance on creative agencies for the “big idea”
In-house agencies are on the rise but the work transitioning in-house will continue to be focused on the cost-saving studio projects vs the conceptual big-picture creative ideas. Chief marketing officers still deeply value the conceptual ideas that agency partners are brilliant at creating.

The CHRO role will rise in importance, and HR leaders will now have a clearer path to CEO
Innovative companies are increasingly prizing the role of HR and CHRO, looking for talent outside of the ordinary disciplines who can connect the company’s strategy to its operations. HR leaders who are brilliant strategists when it comes to building cultures and teams will be more frequently being considered for CEO roles.

Employees will gain more control of their workday, as companies seek new tactics to retain diverse talent
Talent will be demanding modern day flexibility in ways we haven’t seen before — such as two sets of business hours from 10am to 3pm, and 7pm to 10pm for working parents.

We have seen companies that are headquartered outside of major markets struggle to attract more diverse candidates — and many of these businesses will have to create digital workplaces, satellite offices, and consider shorter-term relocations to ensure a consistent pipeline of diverse talent.

Experiential marketing will exceed growth predictions, creating a need for more chief experience officers
Budgets for events and live marketing are skyrocketing, as brands compete for customer engagement and people move away from the transaction to the experience. The role of chief experience officer will become more front and center in this new experience-driven economy.

The explosion of esports and sports betting will heat up the competition for digital and data talent
As brands, agencies, media, and gaming companies vie for a share of the esports and sports betting marketplace, there will be a new talent war for product specialists, data scientists, experiential leaders, and digital/mobile marketers. Creating a seamless experience across the physical and digital world of gaming will require new breeds of tech-savvy talent who will be in high demand.

Human intelligence will take priority
All the talk of “artificial intelligence taking over” flies in the face of the unique attributes required in a creatively-led industry. Collaboration and ideation as a team sport and empathetic leadership can never be replicated by a robot, so marketing and agency leaders should rest easy knowing that while they must evolve, they are irreplaceable in the business world at large.