Recruitment intent falters as brands continue to feel the pinch

Data from IPA Bellwether shows a drop in the net percentage of firms looking to hire in the next three months as the market continues to struggle in the face of economic headwinds.

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More brands than not are expecting to increase the size of their marketing teams in the next three months but the general level of confidence around recruitment has faltered, according to data shared exclusively with Marketing Week.

IPA Bellwether data gathered exclusively for Marketing Week shows a net balance of 15.1% of firms are expecting to see a growth in the workforce over the next three months. This, however, is down from the 16.7% of companies who responded positively in the previous quarter. The IPA puts this down to an increase in the number of firms who are expecting no change in their staffing levels (56.8%).

The data showed that nearly a third (29.2%) of brands are planning to increase their workforce in the next three months while a quarter (14.1%) are planning to cut roles.

Brands ramp up recruitment plans but ‘roadblocks’ remainIt represents an improvement over Q3 and Q4 2022 where plans to increase staff were a net 14.1% and 10.1% – but is still a significant way back from this same time last year when 26.8% of firms were looking to increase numbers.

A clear sign that the economic headwinds facing businesses are still having an effect on confidence to recruit.

The IPA views the readings as a “positive indicator” for the future given the challenges firms are facing. It points to rising wage pressures and a “tightness” in the labour market as a significantly difficultly to companies looking to retain or grow their workforce. But warns that staff retention issues and a difficulty finding skilled staff should “discourage” companies being too hasty in cutting workplace numbers.

Are brands dragging their heels to fill permanent CMO roles?Marketing Week has published a series of features recently detailing the challenges that marketers are facing in the current jobs market. We’ve heard stories of marketers struggling for roles because of an unreasonable list of skills being asked of them. And also seen an increase in the number of CMOs being hired into interim positions as businesses look to cut costs and see marketing as an obvious place to start.

Recruiters, such as Rowan Fisk from 3Search, have spoken about how quiet April and May have been within the marketing recruitment industry. “Businesses aren’t looking to grow, and if businesses aren’t looking to grow, they’re certainly not looking to spend money on marketing,” Fisk told us.

He added in July: “Everybody’s tightening their belts at the moment. This is a really sad state of affairs.”



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