The job prospects of direct and digital marketers have weakened for the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Bernhart Associates' Quarterly Employment Report: 46% of employers plan to add marketing staff over the next three months, down from the 50% who planned to do so six months earlier.

"In terms of job creation we're only a few points ahead of a year ago," said Jerry Bernhart, direct and digital marketing recruiter and principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, which conducts the hiring survey.

"Much like the overall US economy, our employment indicators have remained within a narrow range for the past year and a half. We'd like to see better numbers, but for lower- to mid-level digital and direct marketing job seekers there is plenty of activity out there."

Two other key employment indicators tracked each quarter—hiring freezes and layoffs—have weakened since the previous survey (conducted in April 2012):

  • 21% of employers how have a hiring freeze, up 8 points from six month earlier.
  • 5% of employers say they are planning layoffs in the second quarter, up slightly from the 4% reported in April.

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

After trailing B2B for most of the year, B2C marketers are now running even in all of the major indicators, including hiring plans, expected layoffs, and current hiring freezes.

However, agencies are leading the way in new hiring: 52% report plans to add to staff before the end of the year.

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

More specialized positions in demand are tablet developers, full-time bloggers, and mobile experience specialists, according to Bernhart.

About the data: Findings are from the second-quarter 2012 employment survey by Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC among 450 marketing and advertising professionals, including senior executives and hiring managers, human resource officials, and other key participants in online and offline direct marketing, polled September 13-19, 2012.

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