Direct Marketing Employment Holds Steady, New Hiring Still Slow

October 9, 2007

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Direct marketers can expect little change in the employment outlook for the remainder of 2007, but a slowing trend in new hiring continues, according to the latest survey by Bernhart Associates.

“The numbers are showing little change compared with summer,” said Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates Executive Search LLC. “At the same time, the new hire percentage continues to show a slow and steady decline, which began about a year and a half ago.”

According to the most recent survey:

  • 60% of companies responding said they plan to add to staff by the end of the year, down slightly from 61% during the summer quarter:
    • In April 2006, when the new hire percentage reached its recent peak, the new hire percentage stood at 72%.
    • The record high for the index occurred in the fall of 2005, when it reached 80%.
  • 9% plan to reduce staff in the coming three months, up from 7% during the summer.
  • 29% expect no change in hiring plans during the coming three months.
  • 85% of those surveyed said they are having either a “very difficult” time or a “somewhat difficult” time finding qualified applicants for open positions.
  • Only 15% said they are having little or no difficulty.

“While hiring is not at the heated pace it was a couple of years ago, the supply of qualified applicants remains tight,” said Bernhart.

In some job categories, he said, it’s apparently getting tighter:

  • Topping the list of skill sets that will be in highest demand is analytics, resulting in demand for statisticians, database marketing analysts and circulation analysts.
  • Account management, sales and creative were also listed as areas where needs will be greatest.

A total of 116 companies responded to the random survey which was emailed the week of October 1.

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