Bernhart Associates’ Q2 Emloyment Survey Released: Marketers to Slow Pace of New Hiring

Headshot of Target Marketing Staff

Digital and direct marketers have entered the spring season with fewer plans to hire in the current quarter, according to Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report for the second quarter of 2011.

“It appears employers are taking some time to absorb the hiring they did in the first quarter,” said Jerry Bernhart, leading direct marketing recruiter and Principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, which conducts the quarterly employment survey.

The following are key findings from Bernhart Associates’ quarter-two (Q2) survey:

• 45% of companies responding to the survey said they plan to add to staff in Q2, down from 52% last quarter (Q1).
• 16% of respondents currently have a hiring freeze, unchanged from Q1.
• The percentage of companies planning layoffs in Q2 showed no change at 4%.
• Agencies are reporting the most aggressive hiring plans, with 57% planning to add to staff during the current quarter, and only one reporting a planned layoff.
• Business-to-business once again outpaced business-to-consumer in new hiring plans, with 47% of B-to-B respondents planning to add to staff, versus 46% for B-to-C.

Bernhart noted that the improved economy is translating into increased confidence among job seekers, who are becoming more selective about the opportunities they pursue.

“About three-quarters of the employers who responded said they were experiencing various degrees of difficulty attracting the right talent for their open positions, with business-to-consumer marketers reporting the highest level of difficulty,” he added.

Bernhart observed several other key trends in the Q2 survey:

  • Although digital and direct marketers plan to fill fewer openings this spring compared with the winter quarter, Bernhart said that overall hiring levels remain at healthy, post-recession levels.
  • Not surprisingly, online-related skills remain in strongest demand followed closely by analytics, account management, sales, and CRM-related strategy positions.
  • Layoff plans are almost non-existent among all business segments in digital and direct marketing.

Bernhart Associates’ Q2 hiring survey was emailed on April 5 and 11 to more than 11,000 senior executives, hiring managers, human resource officials, and other key participants in online and offline direct marketing. A total of 351 organizations responded to the nationally followed employment-trends survey, which is now in its eleventh year.

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), in 2010, marketers—commercial and nonprofit—spent $153.3 billion on direct marketing, which accounted for 54.2% of all advertising expenditures in the United States. Measured against total U.S. sales, these ad expenditures generated approximately $1.8 trillion in incremental sales. In 2010, direct marketing accounted for 8.3% of total U.S. gross domestic product. Also, in 2010 there were 1.4 million direct marketing employees in the U.S. Their collective sales efforts directly supported 8.4 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.8 million U.S. jobs.

Results of past surveys can be found in the DMA’s annual Statistical Fact Book and on Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC’s website.

Companies interested in participating in the Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report should send an email to with “Opt-In” in the subject line, or they can sign up directly on the front page of the digital and direct marketing recruiting firm’s website.

Target Marketing covers all direct response media, including direct mail, e-mail, telemarketing, space advertising, the Web and direct response TV, and gives readers insight into such subjects as using databases and lists effectively, acquiring new customers, upselling and cross-selling existing customers, fulfillment strategies and more. The publication was acquired by Adweek in September 2020.