Marketing and Advertising Employment Levels Expected to Rise Modestly in Second Quarter

New Quarterly Hiring Index Tracks Anticipated Hiring in Creative Field

TORONTO, March 11 /CNW/ - The employment outlook for marketing and advertising professionals is expected to show signs of promise, according to The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals. Fifteen per cent of marketing and advertising executives interviewed recently said they plan to increase staff levels in the second quarter of 2010, while 9 per cent anticipate declines. The net 6 per cent increase in projected hiring activity indicates personnel levels will increase modestly in the next three months.

The Canadian study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 250 telephone interviews - 200 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 50 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

Marketing and advertising executives were asked, "Does your company or agency plan to increase or decrease the number of full-time marketing/advertising personnel on your staff during the second quarter of 2010?" Their responses:

Increase......................   15%
                     Decrease......................    9%
                     No change.....................   74%
                     Don't know/no answer..........    2%
                                                     ----
                                                     100%

"Encouraged by positive economic indicators, some companies are augmenting their teams with a mixture of full-time, freelance and consulting professionals to manage key initiatives and capitalize on emerging opportunities," said Lara Dodo, vice president for The Creative Group's Canadian operations. "Some companies, however, are waiting for further signs of recovery before investing in additional creative talent."

Marketing and Advertising Specialties in Demand

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When respondents were asked in which areas they planned to hire during the second quarter, web design/production ranked first with 21 per cent of the response, followed by brand/product management (17 per cent) and account services (16 per cent). Despite high unemployment levels, 46 per cent of respondents said it's challenging for their firms to find skilled professionals.

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                          Specialty Areas in Demand
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               Area                         Percentage Hiring
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               Web design/production               21%
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               Brand/product management            17%
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               Account services                    16%
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               Creative/art direction              14%
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               Interactive                         13%
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               Print design/production             12%
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               Marketing research                  11%
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               Public relations                    10%
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               Copywriting                         10%
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               Media services                       9%
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*Note: Multiple responses permitted. Top responses shown.

Dodo noted that the broad range of specialties being sought suggests many firms are operating with lean teams and, therefore, need support in multiple areas. "Creative teams have been stretched thin as the result of staff cutbacks and any new initiatives will typically require additional personnel resources," she said. "The demand for brand/product management suggests that firms may be investing in grass-root branding and marketing efforts in addition to digital and new media initiatives."

Executives polled for the report also were optimistic about their ability to attract new business: 82 per cent said they were confident in their firm's prospects for growth in the second quarter.

About The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising

Professionals

The Creative Group Hiring Index is based on more than 250 telephone interviews - 200 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 50 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm.

Information from the study is featured in The Robert Half Professional Employment Report - the first quarterly study of its kind to monitor the hiring environment for professional-level positions exclusively. Based on more than 1,000 telephone interviews with executives throughout Canada, it provides insights on employment trends to help businesses and job seekers prepare for the upcoming quarter. To see how hiring within the creative field compares to other sectors, please visit www.roberthalf.ca/per.

About The Creative Group

The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms on a project basis. The Creative Group's internal account managers typically have prior experience working within the creative industry, which helps them better understand their clients' needs and their freelancers' unique talents. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., the firm has offices in major markets across the United States and in Canada. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group's award-winning career magazine, can be found at www.creativegroup.com. For more career news and information, follow us at www.facebook.com/thecreativegroup or www.twitter.com/creativegroup.

For further information: Kristie Perrotte, (416) 350-2330, kristie.perrotte@rhi.com