Direct marketing hiring expected to rebound in Q1

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Owatonna, Minn.—Companies looking for digital and direct marketing expertise are planning a surge in hiring this winter, with agencies leading the way, according to the latest employment survey from direct marketing executive search company Bernhart Associates.

According to Bernhart's latest “Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report,” which projects first quarter 2011 hiring trends, 52% of respondent companies said they plan to add direct and digital marketing staff. That compares with 41% that indicated hiring plans for the fourth quarter of 2010 and 39% in the third quarter.

“I expected a bounce, but nothing like this, which is very encouraging,” said Jerry Bernhart, principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, in a statement. “This is the most positive quarterly improvement we've ever seen in the 11-year history of our quarterly survey.”

Just 16% of respondents reported a current hiring freeze, down sharply from the 35% of respondents that had stopped hiring last quarter. Meanwhile, the percentage of companies planning layoffs in the first quarter dropped to 4%, compared with 8% in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Agencies were particularly bullish in their hiring plans: 63% of agencies responding to the survey plan to add staff, with none planning cutbacks and only one agency reporting a hiring freeze.

The Bernhart study was based on an online survey conducted in January, with 400 respondents.

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