This year we made significant placements across key art markets including London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin and Seoul.
To drive these successes, our team navigated the ever-evolving market relentlessly. With the addition of three new starts, and fluency in over 6 languages, we boosted the international reach and capacity of our operations. Our globetrotting spirit led us to fairs and conferences worldwide, fostering new connections and cultivating existing relationships. This time spent on the ground deepened our understanding of the industry we serve and inspired a commitment to sharing our internal knowledge further.
Published just ahead of April’s Art Market Business Conference, the SML Art Market Salary Report marked a milestone in this mission, and we are thrilled to announce our partnership with ArtTactic for 2025, a collaboration sure to bring even more relevance and depth to our next release.
Press from Artforum, Artnews, Artnet News, and The Art Newspaper following the release of SML’s Art Market Salary Report in April, 2023.
In line with efforts to provide greater access to open resources and accurate references in the form of transparent reporting, introductory career guides and comprehensive insights, we also took steps to redefine and enhance our talent acquisition, expert consultants and market intelligence offerings to ensure ease & efficiency; insight & flexibility; exploration & partnership in the way that we work.
Looking ahead to 2024, SML is poised to remain at the forefront of art world recruitment. To round-out the year, we share our team’s reflections on the past 12-months:
The art market hiring landscape underwent a transformation, with more time spent on deliberation and negotiation, resulting in longer decision-making processes. In marked contrast to the rapid pace of the previous year, the average duration of searches increased significantly, with both clients and candidates showing less willingness to compromise on their ideals regarding remuneration, responsibilities, and organisational culture.
Hiring activities on the US west coast, especially in Los Angeles, continued to rise steadily with clients displaying openness to considering candidates from slightly farther afield, agreeing a plan for relocation. This flexibility meant access to a wider pool of potential.
Simultaneously, a surge in client needs and heightened candidate activity was observed across Europe and Asia. We’re excited to continue matching individuals with the right skills, experience, and cultural fit for the roles in demand.
There has been a noticeable uptick in opportunities within communications and PR agencies following recent consolidations due to the impact of COVID-19. Beyond the traditional fine art sector, our engagement with key players in the design industry has intensified, underscoring our commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our clients.
Galleries situated outside the primary art market hubs, such as New York, London, and Paris, adopted a strategic approach by hiring stand-alone representatives. This tactic serves to gauge the potential for expansion into these cities and provides a degree of protection amid market fluctuations.
Clients displayed a heightened demand for mid-level and senior candidates, with an increased search focus on mid-level administrative and operational roles such as registrars and collection managers as we return to brick and mortar spaces.
Meanwhile, we witnessed a decline in demand for entry-level positions. Our feeling is attention and hiring resource has been earmarked for mid to top-level strategic hires. Once these foundational positions are established, efforts to build cohesive teams around them are expected to resume.
In the face of market uncertainty, employers approached negotiations cautiously, offering lower salaries, while candidates asserted themselves, seeking higher remuneration to justify a move.
Effective and consistent communication, coupled with transparency regarding candidate and employer needs and expectations, were paramount to successful processes.
As organisations continue to address crucial gaps in their teams and top commercial priorities amidst ongoing local and global uncertainties, we anticipate these trends persisting into the new year.
With the quiet period in sight, we recommend clients and candidates make the most of this time for thoughtful (and strategic) reflection. Whether you are planning new hires or a career change, we look forward to connecting with you in the upcoming year!
With warmest winter wishes,
Rosie and The SML Team
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