After a big spike in first-quarter hiring, the direct and digital jobs market is now expected to improve modestly in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Bernhart Associates' Quarterly Employment Report: One-half of employers surveyed say they plan to add marketing staff over the next three months, while layoffs and hiring freezes are expected to decline.

Among the three primary employment indicators tracked each quarter (new hiring, hiring freezes, and layoffs) all but one have strengthened since the previous survey (conducted in January 2011): 

  • 50% of employers surveyed say they plan to add staff in the second quarter of 2012, down 2 percentage points from the 52% in the previous quarter. One year earlier, the index stood at 45%.
  • 13% of employers how have a hiring freeze, down 6 points from the winter quarter.
  • 4% of employers are planning layoffs in the second quarter, down from the 6% reported in the previous quarter. 

Below, additional findings from Bernhart Associates' Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report for the second quarter of 2012.

B2C markets continue to lead the jobs recovery: 54% have plans to hire new marketing staff in 2Q12, compared with 47% of B2B employers (down from 48% in the previous quarter).

Analytics-related candidates are expected to be in the greatest demand over the next three months, followed by marketing, Web designers, sales, and account management roles. 

"This is the first time in the 12-year history of the survey that demand for Web designers has reached the top five," said Jerry Bernhart, leading direct marketing recruiter and principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC.

"The good news is that the downward trend continues in hiring freezes and staff cuts, and in some categories, layoffs are at an all time low" said Bernhart.

"But we're not seeing improvement in the rate of new job creation. The same uncertainties that worry economists and financial markets apparently also worry digital and direct marketers."

About the data: Findings are from the second-quarter 2012 employment survey by Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC among 384 marketing and advertising professionals, including senior executives and hiring managers, human resource officials, and other key participants in online and offline direct marketing, polled in April 2012.

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