Bernhart survey finds DM employment plans holding steady

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Direct marketing job seekers have reason to be hopeful this year, per the latest employment survey by Bernhart Associates Executive Search LLC.

According to the survey, 66 percent of respondents said they plan to add to staff during the first quarter of 2007, down 1 percent from the fourth quarter. The number of companies planning staff reductions remained at 10 percent, while the percentage with hiring freezes dropped to 13 percent compared with 15 percent last quarter.

"The new hiring indicator is holding up well," said Jerry Bernhart, president of Owatonna, MN-based Bernhart Associates, which has been tracking direct marketing hiring activity in the U.S. for the past six years.

"We're seeing practically no change from the fourth quarter, which also was a good quarter for hiring," he said.

Mr. Bernhart also said demand is particularly strong for e-commerce-related positions, and that employers plan to hire more technical positions than they have in the past couple of years, driven by continued business growth.

In general, Mr. Bernhart said that on the recruitment side, the DM industry is off to a very strong start so far this year.

"Direct marketing employers are competing for the best talent, with recruitment and retention efforts a top priority as they enter 2007,"he said.

Previous survey results can be found in the Direct Marketing Association's Statistical Fact Book.

Companies interested in being added to the quarterly survey should send an e-mail to survey@bernhart.com with "Opt-in" in the subject line.

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