Survey: Creative Workers Face Tough Tech Learning Curve

Professionals in design, video production, and other creative arts are struggling to keep up with a growing need for higher-level tech skills—and their employers are too, an AIGA survey finds.

It seems like “creative” and “tech-savvy” increasingly go hand in hand, but a new survey has a different take on the matter: Tech is both a blessing and a curse.

In a survey of more than 1,000 workers in creative fields, 70 percent of respondents said their employers are doing a fair or poor job at preparing them for new kinds of technology, and 45 percent said their companies are struggling with new trends.

The survey—conducted by The Creative Group and AIGA, the professional association for design—found that many creatives appreciate the work opportunities that improved technology creates, but nearly 9 in 10 said it is difficult to keep their skill set at a level matching industry needs.

“The change in the nature of design work calls for skills and perspectives beyond traditional college-level design education,” AIGA National Board President Dana Arnett said in a news release. “It is critical that the industry expands its knowledge and expertise to remain economically viable and professionally relevant as it prepares for changing client demands and new opportunities.”

Other notable findings:

Open or closed? The open office may be trendy and often associated with creatives, but it turns out that closed quarters are still common in design environments. While open offices represented a plurality of spaces that respondents work in, at 31 percent, workstations and cubicles were nearly as common, at 30 percent, and 17 percent of respondents said they use a private office. Coworking and home offices were far less common among respondents.

Tradition-minded. Despite all the tools team members have to communicate with one another, in-person meetings remain on top, with 49 percent of respondents calling it the most effective method for meeting. And while 36 percent of respondents say they cannot work remotely, nearly 70 percent say they wish they could work from home more often.

Freelance is picking up. Many respondents reported that they are facing such heavy workloads that they often need to bring on freelance help. The most common areas for freelance were graphic design and web design, followed by video production.

The Creative Group Executive Director Diane Domeyer noted that this trend might be an opportunity rather than a hindrance. “To meet growing demands, companies are relying on a mix of talent, from full-time employees to project professionals,” Domeyer said in the news release. “This flexible staffing approach offers many benefits, including cost savings and access to a broader talent pool.”

(Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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