Survey: DM Employment Outlook to Remain Tight

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More than 300 direct marketing companies responding to the industry's latest employment survey expect little change in their hiring plans for the current third quarter, according to a survey to be released today by executive search firm Bernhart Associates.

"The industry's key employment indicators are basically flat compared with last quarter," said Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, Owatonna, MN. "When you look at the year-to-year comparisons, however, direct marketers expect this to be a better summer for job seekers than last year."

Among companies responding, 60 percent said they plan to add staff in the third quarter, up from 49 percent a year ago. Companies planning to hire said most of the added positions will be new instead of replacements.

The pace of staff reductions is holding steady with 11 percent planning to reduce headcount, unchanged from the spring. Twenty-five percent said they still have hiring freezes in effect. When asked when they plan to lift those freezes, the vast majority were uncertain.

"I'm in the trenches every day, and I speak with hundreds of employers and candidates every week," Bernhart said. "What I'm hearing is that companies want to see new business coming in before they pick up the pace of hiring. The good news is that candidates are landing jobs, but for many it's still taking considerably longer than in years past."

Positions will be most plentiful in the current quarter for sales representatives, account managers and direct mail production positions.

The survey was e-mailed the week of June 23. Companies interested in participating in the fall survey should send an e-mail to with "opt-in" in the subject line.

Results of the most recent survey plus data from surveys in 2001 and 2002 will be included in the DMA Statistical Fact Book, published in the fall.

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