Survey: Direct Marketing Job Outlook Softens

The slowdown in the economy is apparently beginning to affect hiring plans for direct marketers, according to a quarterly survey from Owatonna, MN-based Bernhart Associates Executive Search.

The survey of 118 direct marketing companies, including agencies, suppliers and end users, revealed a 6% drop in the new-hire index, says Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates Executive Search.

Though he notes that the survey is nonscientific, Bernhart says that the quarterly surveys, which he has conducted for the past five years, have been relatively consistent with the economy. The decline in the number of companies planning to hire new workers this quarter, therefore, is not a surprise.

“We’ve done about 20 of these now, and none of the results have stood out as an anomaly,” Bernhart says. “It’s not a scientific survey, but it does give a decent lagging indicator of what’s going to happen in the direct marketing industry.”

Among companies responding to the survey, 66% said they plan to add to staff this summer, down from 72% in the spring and 80% last fall.

Only two of the companies that responded said they were expecting to lay off staff over the next quarter. In addition, Bernhart says, the survey indicated a demand for Web designers, graphic artists, and sales reps.

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