Brands signal ‘encouraging’ employment prospects despite ‘challenging’ conditions

Concerns remain, however, around the condition of the UK labour market, with marketers citing skills shortages and rising wage pressures.

One in 10 marketers (11.6%) are expecting job cuts within their companies over the next three months, the highest percentage since the first quarter of 2021 when Covid-19 restrictions were still in place.

On the other hand, 38.4% expect to hire new staff, just 0.4% less than in the first quarter of this year, according to IPA Bellwether data gathered exclusively for Marketing Week.

Half of respondents expect staffing levels within their firms to remain the same over the next quarter, resulting in a net balance of +26.8%. While this marks a drop from the +31.6% recorded in Q1, it is still a “strong” figure by historical standards.

“Despite growing evidence of deteriorating economic conditions, we continue to see strong hiring intentions among Bellwether panellists,” the report says.

“Employment prospects data were an encouraging short-term signal overall, suggesting that the broad majority of companies (88.4%) expect to either at least retain their existing workforce or add to it.”

Higher Same Lower Net +/-
Q1 2021 29.9% 58.1% 12% +17.9%
Q2 2021 42.6% 47.5% 9.8% +32.8%
Q3 2021 46.6% 45.5% 7.9% +38.7%
Q4 2021 37.7% 52.5% 9.8% +27.9%
Q1 2022 38.8% 54.1% 7.1% +31.6%
Q2 2022 38.4% 50% 11.6% +26.8%

However, some respondents expressed concern about the “challenging conditions” within the UK labour market, citing skills shortages and rising wage pressures. In some cases, panellists were worried employees would leave their business in pursuit of higher pay.

Others said they had plans to upskill their existing employees to address the skills shortage, Bellwether reports.

Last week the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) launched a “micro-upskilling” initiative for brands, after research from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport last year found 46% of businesses have struggled to recruit for roles that require data skills.

The scheme will see employers commit at least one hour per week of their marketing team’s time for targeted e-learning to help develop digital skills.

Meanwhile, recent research from recruiter Hays revealed almost half (47%) of brands looking to recruit marketers plan to hire remotely, as 87% of marketers report an improvement to their work-life balance as a result of hybrid working.



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