Fewer direct, digital marketers plan to increase staff in Q4: Bernhart Associates

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The number of direct and digital marketers planning to add staff decreased for the third consecutive quarter, according to an employment report from recruitment firm Bernhart Associates Executive Search released Sept. 25.

Forty percent of companies responding to the survey reported that they plan to add employees in Q4, down from 45% last quarter, 52% at the beginning of the year and 41% during the same quarter in 2010. Companies that plan to lay off staff in Q4 rose to 8%, compared with 4% last quarter but holding steady when compared to Q4 2010.

“It's been worse in the past but I'm not terribly surprised given what's occurring overall in the economy,” said Jerry Bernhart, principal of Bernhart Associates. “There's no question I'm seeing a pick-up in layoffs. I've been getting more resumes recently. We're in a soft patch.”

More companies are planning hiring freezes in Q4. Twenty percent of respondents will plan a freeze next quarter, an increase of four percentage points compared with Q3 but down considerably compared with the same quarter last year, when 35% of companies were planning a Q4 freeze.

“This survey closely parallels what's going on in the economy,” Bernhart said. “When gross domestic product is up, the numbers are up. If the economy continues to sputter, the numbers will continue to weaken.”

The report also indicated that b-to-c hiring and hiring freezes will outpace b-to-b for the remainder of 2011.

Respondents indicated that analytics-related jobs will be in the greatest demand, followed by marketing, sales, creative and IT. 

“Analytics jobs have always been in the top three since we began this report,” said Bernhart.

He also added that the Q4 report was the first report in which a company listed social media analytics among the positions it would add in the upcoming quarter.

Sixty-one percent of employers indicated they were experiencing various degrees of difficulty attracting the right talent for open positions. One quarter of respondents attributed this difficulty to a shortage of qualified candidates.

The Bernhart Associates Q4 hiring survey consists of responses from more than 398 marketing organizations to emails sent on Sept.12 and 20.

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