Guest post: The Direct Marketing Hiring Report shows an uptick in hiring and employment

For this week’s post, I wanted to share this study from Bernhart Associates with you. It’s good news for once! It looks like there’s an uptick in direct marketing hiring:

Confidence Returning to Job Market for Digital and Direct Marketers Layoffs drop to pre-recession low; employers expanding use of social networking for hiring

Owatonna, MN, April 7, 2010 — Digital and direct marketing job seekers can expect a spring thaw in layoffs and hiring freezes, according to the latest quarterly employment report by Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC.

“Employers are still being cautious when it comes to making hiring decisions, with half expecting no change in hiring plans for the coming quarter. However, we’re seeing more job stability, and employers continue to lift their hiring freezes,” said Jerry Bernhart , Principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, a leading recruiting firm which has been conducting quarterly hiring surveys in digital and direct marketing since 2001.

A total of 454 organizations responded to the employment trends survey between March 23 and April 7. Here are the key findings from the second quarter survey:

  • 43 percent of respondents said they’ll add to staff during the second quarter of  2010, down three points from Q1;
  • 20 percent of respondents currently have a hiring freeze, a dramatic decline from 45 percent just six months ago;
  • the percentage of companies planning layoffs in Q2 fell to 3 percent, the lowest level in three years; and
  • when asked if they plan to consider using social networking websites for hiring, 41 percent of respondents said they plan to employ them in “moderate amounts” during 2010, while only 14 percent said they won’t be using social networks at all.

“Just a year ago, I was seeing reports indicating that hardly any companies were thinking about using social media in their recruiting,” said Bernhart.  “Our second quarter survey results show that interest in these online networks among digital and direct marketers has grown quickly and considerably, especially among agencies.”

Bernhart said job growth in the overall digital and direct marketing industry is keeping pace with progress in overall U.S. employment. However, he pointed out that marketers are lagging behind their agency and supplier counterparts in terms of job growth.

“Agencies have all but eliminated their hiring freezes, and only one agency responding to our most recent survey said it’s expecting layoffs during the next three months,” Bernhart said. “Hiring on the services side also remains strong, with just about half of respondents telling us they plan to hire during the current quarter. By comparison, 38 percent of marketers said they intend to add to staff.”

Meanwhile, the B-to-C segment continues its upswing with major hiring indexes showing more positive trends compared with its B-to-B counterpart.

According to the survey, Bernhart said sales positions would be in the greatest demand during the second quarter. “This comes as no surprise to me given the strong demand I’ve been seeing for sales reps on the recruiting side of the business,” he said. “We’ve been getting steady calls for sales-position searches since the beginning of the year.”

Bernhart added that analytics remained high on the employment list, along with online and multichannel marketing positions.

Bernhart also said that demand for executive search services has been steadily growing since the beginning of the year. “Inquiries are coming in on a fairly regular basis. A year ago, it was little more than a trickle.”

Bernhart Associates’ second quarter survey was emailed to more than 9,700 senior executives and hiring managers, human resource officials, and other key participants in online and offline direct marketing.

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), direct marketing advertising expenditures as a portion of total U.S. advertising expenditures grew to 54.3 percent and generated 8.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2009. Also last year, there were 1.4 million direct marketing employees in the U.S. Their collective sales efforts directly supported 8.4 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.9 million U.S. jobs.

Results of past surveys can be found in the DMA’s annual Statistical Fact Book and on Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC’s website.

Companies interested in participating in the Bernhart Associates Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report should send an email with “Opt-In” in the subject line, or they can sign up directly on Bernhart Associates’ website.

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