Four in 10 Executives Say Caliber of Freelance Creative Talent on the Rise

More than half of companies employ creative freelancers

  • More than half of companies employ creative freelancers
  • Small agencies rely most heavily on project professionals

Toronto - ON — Apprehensive about hiring gig workers? Consider this: About four in 10 advertising and marketing executives (39 per cent) surveyed by staffing firm The Creative Group said the freelance creative talent pool has grown stronger. In addition, more than half of respondents (58 per cent) reported that their company does employ project professionals. Among these organizations, about 14 per cent of staff work on a freelance basis.

The research shows small agencies (20-49 employees) rely most heavily on project professionals: 23 per cent of their employees, on average, are freelancers. In comparison, about eight per cent of staff at large companies (1,000+ employees) are project professionals.

View an infographic of the research highlights and tips for working with freelancers.

“Freelancing has become an increasingly appealing career option for creative professionals, particularly those with sought-after expertise in areas like content creation, digital marketing and user experience design,” said Deborah Bottineau, a district director for The Creative Group. “Hiring for these in-demand skillsets remains challenging, and many companies are turning to freelancers to support key business initiatives.”

Top Obstacles When Hiring Freelancers (and How to Overcome Them)

Advertising and marketing executives were also asked to share their greatest challenge when working with creative freelancer. The top response was making them feel like part of the team (25 per cent), followed by negotiating pay rates (22 per cent). Finding skilled freelancers and communicating or collaborating effectively with them tied for the third most-pressing concern (19 per cent).

“As with any employee, a freelancer’s success greatly depends on how well they are introduced to the company and team,” added Bottineau. “In addition to a thorough onboarding process, hiring managers should check in regularly with freelancers and invite them to staff meetings and outings. The more included project professionals feel, the happier and more productive they are likely to be.”

Bottineau noted that staffing firms can be a great resource for busy hiring managers looking to add freelancers to their team. “Recruiters can help take a lot of the guesswork out of hiring, not only by identifying highly skilled candidates, but also in assessing their fit for the role and company.”

About the Research

The survey was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 400 advertising and marketing executives in the United States.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group (TCG) specializes in connecting interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations talent with the best companies on a project, contract-to-hire and full-time basis. For more information, including job-hunting services, candidate portfolios visit Follow us at and @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for additional workplace news and hiring trends.

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