(Direct Newsline)—Layoffs and hiring freezes at direct marketing firms are at their lowest level in four years, according to a survey of hiring practices within the DM field.
Sixty percent of the respondents are planning to make hires before year-end, compared with 44% a year ago. The 11% that reported being under a hiring freeze represents a sharp drop from 31% during fourth-quarter 2003. And only 3% anticipate cutting positions, compared with 9% a year ago.
The numbers represent an ever-brightening employment picture. “These indicators are showing significant improvement over the third quarter and are at their best levels since the survey began in 2001,” said Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, in a statement.
But, he cautioned, new hire activity is still lagging, indicating continued caution regarding adding staff. Bernhart’s firm conducts the quarterly employment study.
Bernhart also noted that companies have cut back hiring approval requirements, and that most of the jobs being filled are for new positions, rather than replacements.
“These are all very positive signs for direct marketing job seekers,” Bernhart said.
Employers expect to make new hires across the board, including account management, creative, analytic, production, customer service, information systems, sales, marketing, operations and media. According to Bernhart, both marketing and analytic positions have been in higher demand.
Pay reflects this, especially among the analysts. “Of the analyst placements I have made this year, nobody has taken a pay cut,” Bernhart said. “Nor have there been lateral salary moves. They have all taken pay increases. Maybe not significant increases, but increase nonetheless.”
Geographically, the locations with the highest demand were secondary markets, those outside the traditional New York, Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta regions.
Companies wishing to take part in the 2005 first quarter employment survey should send an e-mail to email@example.com and put “opt-in” in the subject line.