- Written by Peter DeLegge
The key findings from the survey were:
47% of companies responding to the survey said they plan to add to staff in the current quarter, up from 46% last quarter. One year ago the index stood at 52%.
14% of respondents currently have a hiring freeze, down sharply from 21% in Q4.
The percentage of companies planning layoffs in Q1 increased slightly to 6%, compared with 5% last quarter.
Participating companies reported that the average percentage wage increase granted to salaried employees last year was 2.23%. By comparison, the U.S. consumer price index for 2012 rose 1.7%.
Most of the new hiring is coming from agencies and suppliers at 51%, versus 45% for marketers.
According to Jerry Bernhart, a leading direct and digital marketing recruiter and principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, "If you even out the peaks and valleys we're at the same percentage level of new hiring as we were two years ago, so we're not gaining much ground. And for those who thought their cost of living adjustments were small last year, we now have some data to show that they weren't alone."
While hiring has increased, it’s not all good news when it comes to salary. Berhart notes that for many digital and direct marketers, annual salary increases of 2 and a quarter percent aren't doing much to offset deep pay cuts that they had to endure during the Great Recession. "Many candidates feel they're still under water, so pay has become a bigger driver for those who are looking to advance their careers," he said. "But when it comes to compensation, it is still generally a buyer's market for digital and direct marketing employers."
Employers indicated that the greatest need anticipated during the second quarter of 2013 are analytic-related jobs, followed by sales, creative positions and product managers. Newer job titles, such as Data Scientist and Digital Content Producer were mentioned by employers. Bernhart shared these additional observations:
• "We're beginning the new year the way we ended it: Growth of new jobs is modest, layoffs are low, employers are taking their time to make sure they hire right."
• "The sharp drop in hiring freezes is encouraging. That clears the way for new hiring if needs arise."
• "I don't think I've ever seen such a high percentage of digital and direct marketers who are 'passively' looking. That's good for companies looking for talent, but not so good for employers who hired and trained those employees."
• "I'm often asked what the overall unemployment rate would be for digital and direct marketers if such a statistic existed. I would estimate it to be 2 to 2 and a half percentage points below the jobless rate for the overall economy, or around 5-6%. If you want a job in this space, there is one out there for you."
The study was emailed to more than 15,000 senior executives, hiring managers, human resource officials, and other key participants in online and offline direct marketing on January 7 and 14, 2013. A total of 338 organizations responded.