After several lengthy searches to find outstanding senior producers, you know, those people with loads of technically and creatively complex projects under their belt, who are totally process focused but gel perfectly with creatives. I’ve reached a couple of conclusions.
When people get to a certain level, lets say £55k salarywise and hit their groove running great work, they seem to reach a career crossroads. Either switch to freelance with the prospect of earning up to 40% more and the luxury of flexible working. Or stay put and wait for a promotion.
I guess there isn’t an abundance of project director or head of production roles, so as a senior when you’ve reached the point where you looking for a new challenge (such as managing a team or a department) then you have a couple of choices. If you can’t find the opportunity either internally or elsewhere to step up another rung, then earning more money for the same role and being in a position where you can cherry pick the projects you work on can appear like the most attractive option.
It doesn’t make for total career Utopia though. Often as a freelancer you stop being in a position where a company will invest time and money developing your skills or improving your long term career prospects.
All of this doesn’t help those businesses that are looking for permanent , proven senior producers that can become integral to the culture of the agency and be trusted to run important, agency defining projects. Without the expense or transience of using a contractor.