What is the current state of hiring for direct and digital marketers at the start of 2010?

Good news: The hiring landscape has improved greatly since last year at this time. Though it is true that the economic recovery has been slower than we had hoped in terms of job creation, things are progressing in the right direction. Companies are making room in their 2010 budgets for additions (or replacements) to direct marketing staff.

I wouldn’t quite characterize the landscape as one of unbridled optimism, but there certainly exists a belief that the worst is behind us and that it is necessary to fill critical positions to make the most of the coming year. I have identified three trends in 2010 hiring activity:

First, the greatest amount of activity is in the e-commerce and digital channels. Both advertising agencies and their clients are pursuing digital and e-commerce marketers at all levels. They are paying more than ever for VP-level talent, and expanding those departments to include search and Web specialists.

Second, companies are looking to replace existing staff. There are a lot of very talented people out of work, who are extremely flexible in their compensation requirements. Companies have become aware of this, and many are reevaluating their existing staff. We have been asked to conduct numerous confidential search assignments for companies that feel that now is the time for them to replace employees that are not fully engaged with motivated, A-list direct and interactive talent.

Lastly, there is a renewed focus on merchandising professionals. We are seeing an increased demand for merchants, from the VP level down to the buyer level. Companies are seeking aggressive, committed merchants that are willing to travel as needed to overseas sources to secure the best variety of products at the most competitive price.

Wishing all a successful and prosperous 2010.

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