The annual Design Industry Voices survey shows that the number of staff intending to change jobs over the next 12 months is at its highest level since the recession began in 2008.
Almost two thirds say consultancies are employing fewer staff than last year, while 66 per cent say more freelancers are being used, and more than two fifths say more unpaid interns are being used.
The number of free pitches in the design industry remained high, with 70 per cen of respondents saying clients expected more work for free (compared to 71 per cent last year) and 87 per cent saying clients were expecting more work for less money.
The report also highlighted a lack of accessible design, with just 9 per cent of respondents saying clients asked for all designs to be accessible for people with disabilities, while 22 per cent asked for accessible website designs.
Rachel Fairley, lead author of the report and managing director of Fairley & Associates, says, ‘Design and digital firms are feeling the squeeze from the UK’s double dip into recession during the last year.
‘Businesses are demanding more work from agencies for less money to make up for their budget cuts. They are also demanding safer work and solutions, which will not achieve the business objectives and do nothing to enhance agencies’ or clients’ reputation at being at the forefront of innovation.’
Karina Beasley, co-author of the report and managing director of recruitment consultancy Gabriele Skelton, says, ’59 per cent of design and digital staff say they are ready to quit. They perceive a crisis of leadership within their agencies, and part of the issue is that owners have a rosier view of agency performance than their staff.
‘The soaring use of freelancers is driving many permanent workers to take contracts, so talent is harder to find.’
‘Agencies are busy and there is work out there, but its definitely a case of “more for less”… We hope 2013 will be better as agencies adjust to working with smaller budgets and more smartly. But it’s vital that their business strategy is better commicated so that staff know what to expect.
A total of 459 people who work in the digital and design industries were quizzed for the Design Industry Voices report, which is authored by Fairley & Associates, Gabriele Skelton and On Pointe Marketing.
You can read the full report at designindustryvoices.com.