Marketers are feeling more optimistic about taking on new staff after recovering from a dip in confidence at the end of 2016, the latest quarterly IPA Bellwether report has revealed.
When asked in January whether they expected overall employment to be higher, the same or lower at their company in three months’ time, almost a third (31.3%) of those surveyed signalled positive expectations for employment, compared to 16.8% who predicted a fall.
As a result, the net balance of marketers looking to hire new staff in the first quarter was 14.4%, up from a score of 12.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016. However, this is still down from Q3 2016’s levels of a +16.4% net score.
The uplift in the net balance comes at a time when companies are more confident about their own financial prospects, which has been driven in part by ongoing underlying strength in sales and demand, according to the report’s author Paul Smith.
“Recruitment is therefore likely to be maintained to enable firms to deal with the dual requirements of new and existing business,” he tells Marketing Week.
That said, Smith insists businesses should remain cautious. Growth in jobs is likely to be constrained in the coming months due to ongoing concerns over the impact of Brexit on wider industry performance and investment. With the UK committed to leave the EU by spring 2019 and uncertainties around a looming general election, economic growth is expected to be relatively muted for the foreseeable future.
The Bellwether report also revealed companies have a more positive outlook when it comes to their financial performance, and are forecasting ongoing growth over the coming year. Some 41% of senior marketers are predicting expanded marketing budgets in 2017, while only 15% foresee a decline.
Ad spend for the year has been revised up to 0.6%, after previously being expected to dip by -0.7% in 2017.
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