Direct Marketing Employment Holds Steady

Direct marketers can expect little change in the employment outlook for the remainder of 2007, but a slowing trend in new hiring continues, according to the latest survey by Bernhart Associates, MarketingCharts reports.

"The numbers are showing little change compared with summer," said Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates Executive Search LLC. "At the same time, the new hire percentage continues to show a slow and steady decline, which began about a year and a half ago."

According to the most recent survey:

* 60 percent of companies responding said they plan to add to staff by the end of the year, down slightly from 61 percent during the summer quarter:

o In April 2006, when the new hire percentage reached its recent peak, the new hire percentage stood at 72 percent.

o The record high for the index occurred in the fall of 2005, when it reached 80 percent.

* 9 percent plan to reduce staff in the coming three months, up from 7 percent during the summer.

* 29 percent expect no change in hiring plans during the coming three months.

* 85 percent of those surveyed said they are having either a "very difficult" time or a "somewhat difficult" time finding qualified applicants for open positions.

* Only 15 percent said they are having little or no difficulty.

"While hiring is not at the heated pace it was a couple of years ago, the supply of qualified applicants remains tight," said Bernhart.

In some job categories, he said, it's apparently getting tighter:

* Topping the list of skill sets that will be in highest demand is analytics, resulting in demand for statisticians, database marketing analysts and circulation analysts.

* Account management, sales and creative were also listed as areas where needs will be greatest.

A total of 116 companies responded to the random survey, which was emailed the week of October 1.

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