Thursday, January 17, 2008

Direct Marketing Employment News

I always look forward to seeing results of the quarterly direct marketing employment surveys run by Bernhart and Associates. This quarter (Q1 2008), the news isn't so great. Here's part of their press-release.

Job Market Tightens for Direct Marketers

Direct marketers can expect more hiring freezes and increased layoffs this quarter, according to the latest employment survey by Bernhart Associates.

"All of our hiring indicators are turning more negative," said Jerry Bernhart, President of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC. "This weakness comes as no surprise given the recent news of layoffs and the current overall economic climate."

According to the survey, 58% of the companies responding said they plan to add to staff during the first quarter of 2008, down 2% from the previous survey in October. Direct marketers are also planning more layoffs with 12% indicating they plan to reduce payroll, up from 9% last quarter.

Bernhart said the biggest increase came in the percentage of companies that have imposed a hiring freeze for the first quarter, which jumped from 9% to 13%. When asked when they plan to lift their hiring freezes, Bernhart said most said they were unsure if they would be lifted by Spring.

When asked about the degree of difficulty they are having attracting qualified talent, 19% of the companies responding said they were having a "very difficult" time. The remainder indicated it was only somewhat difficult or not difficult at all. Bernhart said those numbers represent a change from recent quarters when employers indicated they were having a more difficult time finding qualified candidates. "The pendulum is beginning to shift from a candidate-driven job market to more of an employer-driven market", said Bernhart. "That's good news for employers who are hiring, but it could mean more competition for job seekers."

Sounds like it's time to tighten those belts and make best use of every minute of the day. It also might be a good time to make sure that your accomplishments and successes are well-publicized within your organization.

I still contend that the beauty of direct marketing is that our efforts generate measurable results (new sales, leads, etc.). If I were a CMO cutting marketing budgets, I'd definitely start with those efforts where results cannot be quantified and proven.

Direct marketing programs (if successful) would be the last to go. Of course, I'm biased :)

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