Marketers are still planning to hire despite ongoing concerns about the economic and political outlook caused by Brexit, but hiring levels have fallen to an all-time low.
According to the IPA’s quarterly Bellwether report, 27.7% of marketers surveyed are planning to increase hiring levels over the next three months, the lowest level since the IPA began asking the question in the third quarter of 2018. And 17.3% expect staffing levels to be lower, the highest number on record. That means a net balance of 10.5% of marketers expect employment to be higher than current levels in three months’ time.
While hiring prospects remain positive, they have fallen to their lowest level in two-and-a-half years. The 10.5% figure is down from a high of 17.2% in the prior quarter and the lowest previous level was 11%.
Nevertheless, marketers are more optimistic about hiring than they are about other areas of business. The fourth quarter saw the end of a six-year run of marketing budget growth as expectations for spend flatlined. And for the first time since Q3 2012, marketers are also pessimistic about the ability of their own company’s finances and growing increasingly pessimistic about the outlooks for their industries.
Among the 28% that expect staffing levels to rise, technological development, product launches and opportunities for business growth overseas have supported confidence on recruitment. Among the 17% expecting to see job cuts, political and economic uncertainty arising from the outcome of Brexit have tempered expectations.