Brands signal improved hiring intentions despite ‘deteriorating’ economic situation

Hiring plans have improved since the third quarter of 2022, but remain well below where they were in the first half of the year.

Despite gloomy economic predictions for the UK this year, brands’ hiring intentions improved over the final quarter of 2022, with over a quarter expecting to increase the size of their workforce in the next three months.

According to IPA Bellwether data gathered exclusively for Marketing Week, just over one in 10 marketers (13.6%) expect overall employment at their firms to be lower in three months’ time. This means a net balance of 14.1% anticipate a headcount boost.

This marks an improvement from the previous quarter, when the net balance was 10.1%. This was the lowest net balance for employment intentions since the first quarter of 2021, when brands first expressed intentions to recruit after a year of staff cuts brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While these latest figures do show an improvement in employment intentions, the net balance is still markedly down compared to the same period in 2021. The balance has almost halved, having stood at 27.9%.

The figure was also much higher in the first half of 2022, with net balances of 31.6% and 26.8% in quarters one and two, respectively. The latter half of last year saw factors like inflation and the cost of living crisis begin to set in, which tempered hiring expectations.

Higher Same Lower Net +/-
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% 50.0% 11.6% +26.8%
Q3 2022 28.0% 54.0% 18.0% +10.1%
Q4 2022 27.7% 58.7% 13.6% +14.1%

The IPA Bellwether outlines a “challenging” employment market for firms, which have to contend with labour shortages, skills mismatches, rising wage pressures and heightened recession risks.

Some respondents highlighted the difficulty of retaining staff in this environment, as employees seek higher salaries elsewhere. Others said they were facing cuts to their staff budgets as a result of the “deteriorating” economic situation.

“With unemployment at historically low levels across the UK, the pool of labour available to replace voluntary leavers is limited,” the report says.

However, the vast majority of marketers (58.7%) do not foresee any change in employment within their firms in the next three months.

Speaking to Marketing Week in December, outgoing Paws Group CMO Richard Clark predicted less movement in the jobs market this year as marketers hope to hold onto a stable job during economic uncertainty.

“Even when people are unhappy in their current role, because of the recession they’re a bit more reluctant to take that jump,” he said.What does 2023 look like for marketing recruitment?

Data from LinkedIn finds chief growth officer is among the fastest growing jobs in marketing, sales and media for 2023.

Two growth orientated roles made LinkedIn’s 2023 Jobs on the Rise list, shared exclusively with Marketing Week. Chief growth officer ranked as number five and growth marketing manager came in seventh.

The fastest growing marketing and sales job in the UK is customer success consultant, followed by sustainability manager, product operations manager and sales development representative.