Marketers are taking a “more cautious” approach to recruitment as they balance the need for talented new staff and plans to develop and launch new products with economic and political uncertainty.

According to the quarterly IPA Bellwether, a net balance of just 2.7% of marketers say they expect employment to be higher at their company in three months’ time compared to current levels. While 24% of firms say they expected to hire, this was almost completely offset by the 21% who expect to cut jobs.

The figure is a sharp fall from the prior quarter, when it was 10.5%, and the same quarter in 2018 when it was 14.2%. In fact, hiring prospects are now at their lowest level since the survey began tracking this measure more than two-and-a-half years ago.

“The latest Bellwether survey indicates a more cautious approach to recruitment over the coming three months,” the report says. “While the need for talented new staff and plans to develop and launch new products supported job creation prospects, indecisiveness due to economic and political uncertainty and reports of rising operating costs somewhat constrained hiring.”

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The drop in employment prospects comes as marketers grow more concerned about the financial prospects of both their companies and the wider industry. The net balance feeling pessimistic about their own company’s prospects has increased to 2.7%, from 0.9% in the prior quarter.

Industry-wide financial prospects also remain deep in negative territory, with a net balance of 22.6% feeling pessimistic, although this is a slight improvement on the 28.6% in the prior quarter.

Growing pessimism has caused the IPA to lower its expectations for ad growth this financial year as well. It now expects annual growth of just 1.1%, down from a previous forecast of 1.3%.





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