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Ad and marketing execs predict stable hiring, recruiting challenges to intensify

December 15, 2017

Demand for creative talent is expected to remain fairly stable in the first half of 2018, according to according to a new survey from The Creative Group, a marketing/creative staffing division of Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE: RHI).

The survey found only 5% of advertising and marketing executives surveyed plan to expand their teams and add new positions from January through June 2018, down from 9% in a similar survey six months ago and 12% in a year-ago survey.

Additionally, 20% project hiring freezes, down slightly from 21% in the same survey six months ago; 67% anticipate maintaining current staff levels and none expect to reduce the size of their staff.

And recruiting challenges have intensified for advertising and marketing executives; 53% reported it’s hard to find creative professionals today, up eight points from six months ago. Hiring managers in small marketing departments — 100 to 249 employees — expect the greatest difficulty, with 58% reporting challenges. According to executives, the hardest roles to fill are those in web design/production, marketing research, brand/product management and digital marketing. To win over potential hires, some companies are increasing salaries.

“At the beginning of the year, budgets have been approved and creative and marketing teams are adding staff to support new campaigns that will drive business growth,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “A priority for many companies is using data to deliver personalized experiences throughout the customer journey. Finding people with experience in this area is a challenge, as they're in high demand and short supply.”

Executives who plan to add staff cited the greatest need for people with expertise in content marketing, brand/product management and digital marketing but the research found companies will be recruiting for a range of specialties in the first half of 2018. The top-ten areas for hiring are:

  1. Content marketing: 25%
  2. Brand/product management: 23%
  3. Digital marketing: 22%
  4. Marketing research: 20%
  5. Copywriting: 20%
  6. Social media: 19%
  7. Customer experience: 18%
  8. Interactive media: 18%
  9. Print design/production: 17%
  10. Media services: 17%

The survey is based on more than 400 telephone interviews — approximately 200 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 200 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

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