Survey: 2001 Not as Rich as 2000 for Job Hoppers

Direct marketing professionals who moved to consulting and Internet-related businesses in 2001 saw offers in base salaries average 11.8 percent more than their existing salaries, according to a survey released yesterday by Smith Hanley Associates, a Chicago-based executive recruiting firm.

That's down from the 27.5 percent increase in 2000 among DM professionals who moved to consulting or Internet jobs. This large increase in base pay in 2000 was primarily a function of demand, driven by the boom in hiring by consulting firms and Internet companies. Direct marketers were in an ideal position to take advantage of skyrocketing salaries because they had the CRM and database skills that consulting and Internet companies required.

“Direct marketers had an incredible window of opportunity to move into fast-paced, but sometimes risky, Internet and consulting businesses,” said Linda Burtch, senior managing partner, Midwest Practice, Smith Hanley. “Many took advantage of the opportunity and saw substantial base compensation increases in addition to incentives such as cash sign-on bonuses and equity positions.”

Burtch said that after several months of job searching, many of these formerly high-paid professionals are still seeking employment.

To some degree, companies are hesitant to bring these executives in at a lower salary, even though the candidates have become very flexible on the salary range. The trend has been that as soon as the job market picks up, these candidates will realize their market value has increased and they will pursue higher-paying opportunities, Burtch said.

“It will be interesting to see what the salary statistics show for 2002,” Burtch said. “The last three months have shown a slow but steady improvement in the job market for direct marketers. We anticipate that the recovery will take place over several months and the demand for direct marketers will continue to build driven by the retail, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods industries.”

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