Ask Europe: Should Creatives be Multi-skilled or Specialised?

Are you more employable when you have a diverse skill-set or a specialism when working across creative?

The creatives of the world have been feeling a little confused lately, with lots of discussion around whether finding a creative job is made easier if you are a specialist or if you have a diverse skill set. We recently took the debate to the people in the know, our specialist consultants and directors here at Cogs; working with clients and creatives on a daily basis across the globe, they get a great insight into what companies look for in prospective employees.

To find out what the verdict was from our Asian offices (Singapore, Hong Kong and China) you can view the full article here:

This week we heard from our team in Europe and ask whether a multiplicity of skills is better than a specialism?

Liam Morgan, Director and Founder, Cogs London

“The saying goes ‘Jack of all trades, master of none.’ It’s an old cliché but is there a ring of truth to it? I would say yes. While at times it’s good to have an open mind and be ready to pivot to new challenges, to truly master something, to put in your 10,000 hours of practice and to have a ‘super power’ as Dan Bonner describes it is a much undervalued thing. Specialists are so because they take the time to become exactly that.

They value the power of practice and the patience required that makes them what they are. If you dilute that attention being the best becomes just another impossible dream. So by all means have a multitude of skills and an open mind but choose the thing that really grabs you and be the go to, the expert, the outlier.

It’s all a result of dedication, hard work and commitment. In this busy world of attention deficit, these three attributes are undervalued.”

Jan Pautsch, Head of Creative, Cogs Berlin

“Currently I recognise two tendencies in the vibrant European service and product design industry.

First: a diversification into partial design disciplines, such as: Business Design (prototypes of value and innovation strategy), Strategic Design (service vision and proposition) and Experience Design (product concepts and service models).

Second: A demand for a generalist skill-set and for taking multiple roles. Fast paced product development cycles force a consolidation of UX with UI-Design and a hybrid skillset becomes therefore a key differentiating factor – although the larger and more complex projects will still require many different UX-roles.

A new generation of creatives comes into the market – educated at international design schools and trained in start-ups – able to map the whole design-process from think to make. Organisational strategist Mike Araus calls them: ‘square shaped people’ – they are applying deep knowledge mind-set to new areas of expertise and the life-long practise of learning a lot about a lot. From a creative-career-perspective they later have the option to grow into principal roles or to take over team-lead and management responsibilities.”

In our previous article exploring this issue in Asia, Damien, Director of Cogs Hong Kong, agreed with Liam, in that he too felt it was very important for individuals to be persistence in their pursuit of excellence in one area – if they are passionate about it.  Being an expert at something is far easier if you have a natural passion for it, so it makes working and getting paid all the more enjoyable.

Being cross-disciplinary is always going to make you an attractive candidate, whether you work in Europe or Asia. Any individual who is able to collaborative skills is attractive, as businesses often require a broad set of talents for every role. However when starting out on your creative career, focusing on one core specialism will enable you to develop a key set of skills, once you have a core speciality you can then build on that broaden your skill-set.

What all our team agree on is that it’s vital that you understand exactly what you want to achieve, what your real passions are and where you want to be. The clearer you are on your own strengths and direction will mean you know what will be best for you career.

Check out some of our current opportunities for creatives in Europe now, or contact the team for a chat about your next career move.

Simple Share Buttons