Direct marketing hiring plans are at their lowest since the survey began in 2001, Bernhart said, and represent the eighth consecutive quarter in which hiring in direct marketing has been shrinking. But the company said there are signs the worst may be over.
The drop in hiring plans represented the smallest quarter-to-quarter decline in a year, according to the study, while planned layoffs showed an unexpected reversal. According to the Bernhart survey, 13% said they are planning to reduce head count during the second quarter, down from 21% last quarter. Further, when asked about hiring freezes, 30% reported they have a freeze in place, down sharply from 48% last quarter.
The e-mail survey, distributed in early April, received responses from 265 companies.