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In anticipation of improving business conditions, digital and direct marketing executives continue to lift hiring freezes: 20% say they now have a hiring freeze, down from the 45% who said so six months earlier, while only 3% are planning layoffs in the second quarter of 2010, the lowest level recorded in three years, according to a survey from Bernhart Associates.

Over four in ten execs (43%) say they plan to add digital and direct marketing staff in the second quarter, down 3 points from the 46% who said so in the previous quarter.

"Employers are still being cautious when it comes to making hiring decisions, with half expecting no change in hiring plans for the coming quarter. However, we're seeing more job stability, and employers continue to lift their hiring freezes," said Jerry Bernhart, principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC.

For its report, Bernhart surveyed direct marketing executives (online and offline) on general business conditions and hiring plans for the second quarter of 2010.

Some 41% of surveyed execs say they plan to use online social networks "moderately" for hiring, while only 14% say they won't be using social media at all for hiring purposes.

Overall, the digital and direct marketing industry is keeping pace with US employment figures, but marketers are lagging behind their agency and supplier counterparts in job growth, Bernhart said.

Marketing services hiring is particularly strong: Roughly one-half of services execs plan to hire this quarter, compared with 38% of in-house marketers who plan to do so, the survey found.

Other findings from Bernhart Associates:

  • The B2C segment continues its upswing with major hiring indexes, showing more positive trends than the B2B segment.
  • Sales positions, marketing analytics-related roles, and online and multichannel marketing positions are expected to be high demand during the second quarter.

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed more than 200 research sources and selected 64 of the best to create the Digital Marketing Factbook a 144-page compilation of data and 110 charts, covering email marketing, search engine marketing, and social media. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.

Overall Jobs Market Set to Improve

A separate study found that for the first time since the first quarter of 2008 more CEOs now plan to add jobs than cut them. Nearly three in ten US CEOs (29%) plan to add jobs over next six months, compared with 19% who planned to do so in the previous quarter, according to the Business Roundtable.

Just 21% plan to cut jobs, compared with 31% in the previous quarter.
In addition, 73% of CEOs expect their companies' sales to increase over the next six months, and 47% plan to boost capital spending during that period.

About the data: Findings are from the second-quarter 2010 employment survey by Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC among 454 marketing and advertising professionals, including senior executives and hiring managers, human resource officials, and other key participants in online and offline direct marketing, surveyed from March 23 to April 7, 2010.

The Business Roundtable is an association of CEOs of leading US companies with nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 12 million employees. The first-quarter 2010 survey was conducted among member CEOs from March 15 to 30, 2010.

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