Survey: Digitally Savvy Job Hunters Maintain Hiring Edge

More Than Half of Agencies, Marketers That Plan to Staff Up in 2010 Seek Web Designers, Producers

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NEW YORK ( -- While layoffs remain a fact of industry life right now, at least one recent survey underscores the edge digital-savvy prospects have when it comes to the few job opportunities that are available.

More than a third of 250 randomly selected, senior-level advertising and marketing executives report they'll be increasing staff in the next 12 months, while 55% are planning to maintain current levels and 10% expect cuts, according to a survey conducted in August by short-term and permanent staffing firm Creative Group, a Robert Half International company.

Of the 34% of respondents that plan to hire in the next year, more than half expect to hire people with web design and production skills. Also topping the most-wanted list are people with skills in creative and art direction, interactive and account services. Media services, PR and print design and production and copywriting come in as the least desired areas of expertise.

Still, the findings show that overall hiring intent has not fully rebounded from the 42% reported in the last survey a year ago.

While this year's results may indicate some increased marketing and advertising investment for marketers, it may also reflect traditional agencies' increased pressure to supplement their talent to reach increasingly digital consumers.

"Across America, we have been restructuring the agency and bolstering our ranks to ensure we have the talent and resources to be able to deliver compelling digital content," Troy Ruhanen, deputy chairman, BBDO North America, said in an e-mail. "In recent months, we've added digital strategists, integrated producers and well-rounded creatives with both digital and non-digital expertise."

Dallas-based independent Richards Group is presently hiring and will continue to do so, said Amanda Vendal, creative and planning recruiter for the agency, which, she said, recognizes the hiring opportunities that exist in the deluge of creatives and account planners that were victims of the recession.

"Stan [Richards, agency founder] is aware that this is the time that you can stock up and get great talent," she said. "There are smart people out there and we're always looking to better our talent level. We'll be in a much better position for when the economy does get better."

As for digitally savvy applicants, Ms. Vendal finds that entry-level candidates from ad schools are coming equipped with portfolios balanced across traditional and alternative media.

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