Survey: DM Job Prospects Look Brighter

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The employment outlook continues to improve for direct marketers, with nearly three out of four DM companies planning to add to staff this winter, the latest Bernhart Associates employment survey found.


Also, database directors were the highest-paid professionals in direct marketing in 2004, according to a separate report by Crandall Associates, an executive search firm.


"In 16 years of recruiting in direct marketing, this is one of the strongest starts I've ever seen for a new year," said Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates Executive Search Inc., Owatonna, MN, which conducts its survey quarterly. "We've been receiving a steady stream of calls and e-mails from employers as companies gear up for 2005."


Among companies responding to the Bernhart survey, 70 percent said they plan to increase headcount in first-quarter 2005, up from 60 percent last quarter. Only 5 percent said they would cut staff, and the percentage reporting a hiring freeze continued its steady decline, falling to 8 percent.


"Right after 9/11 the hiring freeze number was nearly 40 percent," he said. "We've come a long way in two years."


The survey, e-mailed the first week of January, had 144 DM companies participating. Results are published in the Direct Marketing Association's Statistical Fact Book.


Companies will seek a wider variety of talent compared with past surveys, Bernhart said, and employers are expressing greater urgency.


"They're going to need everything from laser operators to chief marketing officers," said Bernhart, who also noted that more junior-level positions are opening.


The survey also shows that new hires will outnumber replacements 6 to 1, he said.


"That statistic has shown sharp improvement in recent quarters," he said. "In 2002, the ratio was reversed, another indication of continued steady improvement."


In the Crandall Associates survey, database directors beat out marketing directors at consumer catalogs for the top salaries.


Database directors' salaries ranged from $108,500 to $162,500 while consumer catalog marketing directors ranged from $101,300 to $145,100, Crandall Associates said. The lowest-salaried professionals in the industry were ad agency account executives, who ranged from $37,900 to $65,300, the report found.


Crandall Associates, New York, offers its full 2005 national salary guide with 56 job descriptions for $45. More information is available at CrandallAssociates.com.


Companies interested in being added to Bernhart's quarterly survey should send an e-mail to survey@bernhart with "opt-in" in the subject line.


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