Four trends shaping design recruitment in 2017

What do companies of all sizes and agencies/consultancies need to consider when hiring talent in 2017? And what do candidates need to do to stand out from the crowd? Doug Fitzgerald, UI and product design consultant at design and innovation recruitment specialists Bamboo Crowd has identified four key trends for people on both sides of the recruitment process to consider.

  1. Workplace culture will move up the agenda

While the trend of large organisations buying design agencies and consultancies continues, such as Accenture’s acquisition of Karmarama at the end of 2016, workplace culture will carry on moving up the management agenda.

While these acquisitions demonstrate the growing importance of design in branding and innovation, the fallout from ‘culture clash’ will result in creative talent departing the big corporates that have invested in them.

Consequently, culture will become a key focus for these businesses. Over the next year acquiring firms will need to invest time and resource in smart transition strategies aimed at stemming any haemorrhage of talent before it starts.

The increased focus on culture means that candidates should really think about culture when applying for and accepting roles especially at big corporates. Don’t feel afraid to ask tough questions about the company’s values and how much importance they attach to nurturing and celebrating creative talent.

For clients fearful that increased consolidation will limit choice, expect small-to-medium independent studios to launch to fill the holes left by the likes of Karmarama and VeryDay.

  1. Large companies will integrate design-thinking across the whole organisation

The last five years has seen organisations buy in talent to boost in house expertise. This year will see companies begin to understand and integrate the resource they have purchased. As mentioned above, this includes workplace culture but it also means having a unified approach to design by integrating design-thinking across all departments. The knock-on effect of this trend on freelance UX designers will be a decline in big business-design projects in favour of short-term projects with less substance.

We continue to hear reports that big corporates lack understanding around how different teams should collaborate to achieve the best results. As a result, 2017 is likely to see growing demand for organisational design talent – designers who know how to build, maintain and build a business – as companies seek to understand how to use design thinking and practice to help solve wider business challenges.

  1. The line between UX and UI will blur further and product designers will be in demand

UI and UX design skills are in high demand but many companies are confused about the difference between these two disciplines and therefore look for people who offer both. This year will also see the rise of the product designer as businesses – especially start-ups – increasingly demand candidates who deliver across the board from design, to strategy, to implementation and post-care.

  1. There will be a decline in demand for packaging and print based talent in branding

The ubiquity of digital services means that branding agencies are under growing pressure to respond to briefs for complex digital solutions by delivering experiences for consumers that cross everything from print to digital to events and in-store.

As a result, it’s increasingly standard for branding firms to require designers with a mix of skills across graphics, interaction design, motion design and who also have experience in both front and back-end.

As branding agencies seek to future-proof their businesses to meet growing demand for business design and innovation, we expect to see many teams restructure as they accommodate new talent and expertise across the business.

Candidates should review their skill sets and ensure they are up-to-the-minute in terms of relevancy and client need to ensure they don’t miss out on the jobs they want and deserve.


About Bamboo Crowd

Bamboo Crowd is a leading talent partner and recruitment destination for innovation, strategy and design. Founded in 2013 in London as a challenge to the recruitment industry, Bamboo Crowd’s clients now include Bow&Arrow, Capgemini, Red Scout and Smart Design.


I’m a Founding Partner of Bamboo Crowd. I help our clients invest better in people and scale through Engine. I solve recruitment challenges and help our clients source the best talent across operations, business development, programme management, and technology. Ask me about good films, beards and hip hop.