Marketing and Ad Execs See Modest Increase in Hiring in Q4

The hiring of full-time creative and marketing professionals is expected to increase slightly in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the most recent The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals.

Twenty-five percent of executives interviewed said they plan to add full-time staff in the next three months, and 5 percent forecast reductions in personnel. The resulting net 20 percent of executives anticipating hiring is up one point from the third-quarter forecast.

The national study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing interactive, design and marketing professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm.

Key Findings

The findings are based on more than 500 telephone interviews—approximately 375 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

  • The net 20 percent of executives planning to hire is up one point from third-quarter projections.
  • 57 percent of executives said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals today, up 15 points from the previous quarter.
  • 8 to 9 percent of marketing and advertising executives are confident in their companies’ growth prospects for the fourth quarter, a two-point increase from the third-quarter projection.
  • Web design/production, account services, and social media are the specialties in greatest demand among the survey respondents.

“As more business is conducted online and via mobile devices, companies are moving quickly to promote their products and services using a variety of channels,” said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. “Experienced web designers and developers, and marketing professionals with proven success executing innovative social media campaigns, are sought by organizations of all types and sizes.”

Marketing and Advertising Specialties in Demand

When executives were asked in which areas they plan to add staff, web design/production ranked first, with 25 percent of the response, followed by account services (23 percent) and social media (22 percent). The 57 percent of executives who said it’s challenging for their firms to find skilled creative professionals, is up 15 points from the previous quarter’s survey.

Marketing and advertising executives were asked, “In which of the following areas do you expect to hire in the fourth quarter of 2011?” The top responses are shown in the chart below:

Perspectives on Business Growth

Marketing and advertising executives’ confidence in their ability to attract new business increased slightly from last quarter: Eighty-nine percent of those interviewed said they were somewhat or very confident in their firms’ prospects for growth in the fourth quarter, up two points from the third-quarter survey.


About The Creative Group


Opportunities and Challenges for Graphic Designers

When desktop publishing, Photoshop, and other imaging technologies first hit the scene, graphic designers were among the first to recognize that mastering new technologies would sooon become an integral part of their jobs. Still, few people really envisioned how rapidly and radically advances in digital imaging, digital printing, communications, and the Internet would transform the world of business and commerce. The “rules” are marketing and publishing are being rewritten every day.  Here’s a quick rundown of major challenges and opportunities for graphic designers.


Global competition. Easy access to global online providers of low-cost or do-it-yourself template-driven design services has eroded the prices for common types of graphic-design services.

Constant training and equipment updating. The shift away from print advertising and print publications to new forms of Internet advertising and interactive media requires designers to continually update their skills  and computer hardware and software. Designers are typically on the leading edge of figuring out how to make new forms of communications click with users.

Multi-channel marketing demands speed and flexibility. High volumes of graphics often must be produced under tight deadlines. In addition to producing graphics for multiple forms of media, the messaging often must be customized and directed to narrower audiences. Production speed and efficiency are essential.

Keeping up with changes in consumer preferences. Graphic designers must stay attuned to the fast-changing trends and preferences within audiences of different generations, cultural backgrounds, and tech-savvy.


Expanded roles and changing expectations. Companies expect designers to add value by differentiating their brands, products, or customer experience.  Designers can expand their roles by helping organizations prepare for the next wave of changes in technology, communications, and society.

Mass customization and personalization. The incredible versatility of large-format, on-demand, and 3D printing has opened new opportunities for all types of products, books, and décor to be custom designed. Designers can work with a broader range of clients and come up with new ideas for vehicle wraps, wallcoverings, environmental graphics, fabrics, clothing, jewelry, and home furnishings.

New business models for design firms. Entrepreneurial designers can use the Internet to sell a wide range of their own custom-designed products and services.

Integrated, cross-media marketing. Designers will play a key role in implementing integrated marketing campaigns that will influence consumers at a variety of touchpoints including social networks, websites, blogs, e-mail, smartphones, printed materials, trade-show graphics, and point-of-purchase. Many corporations are developing sophisticated content-publishing operations that will rival traditional editorial publishing operations.