Brands are looking to hire more marketers as efficiency improvements, upbeat sales forecasts and planned product development leaves companies feeling positive.
According to Marketing Week’s exclusive question in the IPA and IHS Markit’s quarterly Bellwether report, a net balance of 17.2% of companies say they anticipate jobs growth over the next three. That is up from a low of 11% in the prior quarter and 15.5% a year ago.
It is also the highest level since Q2 2017, when the IPA began measuring this metric.
However, that still means 55% of the survey panel are planning to change in staffing levels over the next three months. That points to a degree of uncertainty towards hiring.
This was backed up by concerns about the uncertainty arising from the current impasse in Brexit negotiations, with some of those questioned suggesting that large-scale financial decisions are on hold until the outcome is known. However, the overall growth does suggest that efficient improvements, improved sales and investment in new products and innovation are starting to bear fruit.
“The research highlights a greater degree of positivity towards employment projections. The net proportion of respondents expecting jobs growth picked up since Q2, supported by planned efficiency improvements and efforts to diversify product offerings. However, an underlying sense of caution was evidenced by over half (55%) of the panel forecasting no change in headcounts,” says Joe Hayes, report author and economist at IHS Markit
The relative optimism over hiring opportunities is not matched across the rest of marketers’ outlooks. Budgets rose at the weakest pace for nearly three years in the third quarter, with a net balance of just 2.5% expecting to revise spend upwards.
Again, there is a sign of growing uncertainty or indecisiveness about investing, with 60% of marketers making no change in spend levels as higher input costs such as increased wages and business rates putting pressure on markets.
On the prospects for the wider industry, many more were pessimistic than optimistic, with a net balance of -21, down from -9% in the previous quarter.
Nevertheless, the IPA and IHS are maintaining their “modest” ad spend growth forecast for 2018. They are predicting a 1.1% year-on-year increase and anticipate a further slowing to 0.7% in 2019.