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Will Gen Z Fill the Gap in Creative Talent? These young professionals are about to enter the workforce and could contribute their own assistance and challenges to the creative professionals shortage.

By William Craig Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


If you've been finding it difficult to fill your open creative positions this year, you're not alone. According to a newly released survey by The Creative Group, ad and marketing agencies are having a heck of a time finding skilled, creative workers to meet their staffing needs.

Related: Millennials 'Are Great Problems to Have'

Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents said finding such professionals is challenging, yet content marketing and creative service professionals are among the top-hiring needs for these companies in 2016. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, this means finding creative talent is the hardest it's been since 2010.

Additionally, Gen Z professionals (those born between 1990 and 1999) are about to enter the workforce -- a benchmark that could contribute its own assistance and challenges to the creative professionals shortage. Keep reading to learn more about the shortage in skilled creatives, and how Gen Z may, or may not, help solve it.

Why are creative workers so difficult to find?

As unemployment rates continue to dip, job-seekers with desirable skills are able to be more choosey about where they work. However, employers across various industries find it somewhat or very challenging to acquire such professionals.

Fifty-nine percent of chief information officers and 55 percent of chief financial officer said it is challenging to find skilled professionals right now. Likewise, 42 percent of ad and marketing executives said finding skilled creatives was difficult, and nearly two-thirds of surveyed lawyers said it's tough to find skilled legal personnel.

In contrast, job-seekers appear confident in themselves and in their career prospects. As a result, more job-seekers are aiming for specific salary benchmarks, regularly checking their earnings against third-party reported earnings. If employers are unwilling to meet competitor offerings, many job candidates are willing to move on.

This contrast implies that, while unemployment is down and available positions are increasing, the candidates applying for skilled jobs are lacking something that makes them un-hireable to employers. Realistically, this deficit could have a lot to do with rapid technological advancements and some jobseekers' inability to keep up with them. However, experts also say that sub-par training programs and unrealistic expectations on hiring managers' parts could be contributing, as well.

Related: This Is What You Get When You Ignore 'Quality Of Hire'

Will Gen Z help fill the creative skills gap?

Gen Z is the first truly digital generation, making these young professionals a potential asset to many employers. Perhaps, then, as Gen Z enters the workforce, they will be able to ease some of the gaps in skilled and creative talent so many employers are facing. Unfortunately, there are a few challenges standing in the way of such a solution.

First of all, there's Gen Z's deficiency in soft skills, which may dissuade many employers from hiring them. Bruce Tulgan, author of Bridging the Soft Skills Gap: Teaching the Missing Basics to Today's Young Talent, says Gen Z employees may lack a number of expected soft skills needed for a professional career. These include the ability to take responsibility, be on time and be organized and productive.

For many employers, such soft skills fall into the realm of common sense professionalism, and it could be very difficult for even the most skilled creatives to get hired if they demonstrate a lack in critical soft skills.

Another challenge that could limit Gen Z's ability to fill the skilled workers gap involves the kind of working environment younger professionals want. The Creative Group found that working for a midsize organization is the most popular choice of work environment for Gen Z-ers. This isn't much different than Gen Y's preferences, which favor small organizations, followed by midsize organizations.

What is different about Gen Z is that these young professionals seem to be disenchanted from the independent contractor and startup entrepreneurship jobs that wooed Gen Y. Only 13 percent of surveyed respondents wanted to work for a startup, and only 6 percent wanted to work for themselves as a freelancer or consultant.

With fewer millennials rushing to start their own companies, more may be drawn to organizations seeking their skills. If employers can find a way to cope with the soft skills gap mentioned above, they might just find the skilled creatives they've been looking for.

Related: Retaining Company Culture Comes Down to Hiring the Right People

William Craig

Founder and President of WebpageFX

William Craig is the founder and president of WebpageFX, a full-service Internet marketing company that helps businesses raise their profiles and increase their revenue, through diverse online strategies including social-media management, search-engine optimization, and digital public relations. Providing clients with an average of 20 percent increased revenue annually, WebpageFX has generated over $115 million in revenue for clients in the past year alone.

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