Despite the threat of the dreaded fiscal cliff, the hiring outlook going into 2013 is typical of most years, says Jerry Bernhart, principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search LLC. “We’re not seeing a groundswell of demand, but it is better than four years ago.”
Many of the calls Bernhart has been getting are from smaller organizations that can’t wait to fill key positions.
When Bernhart started recruiting direct marketing professionals 20 years ago, the prediction at the time was there would be shortages of qualified data and analytics professionals. “That hasn’t changed,” he says. “I don’t think I remember a time that companies had an easy time finding these people. In fact, with all the digital data, the demand is greater than ever—not only for statisticians but for those with business acumen, who can help people develop customer insight.”
Across the board, Bernhart is seeing demand for marketing positions of all kinds, in email, multichannel, ecommerce and even direct mail.
“One of the biggest searches I’m doing right now is for a vice president of direct mail for a financial services company,” he says. “The ROI might not be a good as email but some argue that response rates for direct mail are higher. And there is a place for it, targeting people in their 60s who trust direct mail [for anything concerning] personal information in it, especially healthcare and financial services.”
With the explosive need for online content, he predicts that sometime soon “chief content officer” will become an in demand position. “Some companies are creating internal newsrooms with former journalists,” he says. “Somebody needs to manage that and there can be terrific opportunities if you have Internet knowledge and writing skills.”
Social media experience is now an essential skill, and mobile experience is also a desired skill set, he says, noting that an understanding of privacy laws is also a plus. “We’re seeing many Fortune 500s hiring chief privacy officers because of the explosion of data.”
In salaries, the trend is toward modest 4% to 5% annual increases. If someone is essential to the organization and the employer can’t afford to lose them to a counter offer, they may see a 15% to 20% bump. But that’s the exception, rather than the rule.
The job market is still employer driven, and often large companies can afford to wait for the right person. “It used to be the [desire] was to get someone in quickly, but now their requirements are greater. The good news though is that there is plenty of demand.”