Direct marketing hiring slows: survey

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Direct marketers expect fewer new hires this summer compared with the spring, according to the latest employment survey by Bernhart Associates Executive Search LLC.

"There was also a small increase in the percentage of companies planning staff cutbacks," said Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates, Owatonna, MN. "Overall the numbers show a slight softening in the employment outlook for direct marketers this quarter."

Bernhart said 61 percent of the respondents said they will be adding to staff during the current third quarter compared with 66 percent last quarter, while 28 percent are forecasting no change. Bernhart added that 7 percent plan to reduce headcount, up from 3 percent last quarter.

The remainder said they were unsure about their hiring plans.

"We also asked about the ease or difficulty companies are having finding qualified candidates," said Bernhart. "Survey results showed 26 percent are having a ævery difficult' time [which is] unchanged from the second quarter."

Bernhart added that the supply-demand pendulum has shifted decisively to the candidate's side of the fence.

"Nearly all of the respondents said they are having some degree of difficulty finding qualified candidates," he said.

Customer service was listed as the position that will be in strongest demand this summer, followed closely by direct marketing managers and sales support.

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

A total of 112 companies responded to the survey, which was e-mailed to a random sample the week of July 8.

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

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