Green shoots for marketing & media

Could spring winds finally be blowing to a marketing budget near you?

Recruiters in the marketing and communications industries are cautiously welcoming a ‘green shoots’ style recovery, lending credence to yesterday’s National Bank survey which claims record boosts in Kiwi business confidence.

The optimism is in stark contrast to a report by HR firm Hudson showing that more than a third (35 per cent) of New Zealand and Australian companies have cut staff numbers through redundancy in the last year. ‘Talent Tightrope: Managing the Workplace through the Downturn surveyed 247 employers and found an unprecedented number of companies across Australasia had made roles redundant.

Marketing manager of Hudson New Zealand, Ramari Young, says while there are still opportunities, she sees no sign of uplift before the end of this year.

“Employers are slow to recruit. It’s taking them a long time to sign off on jobs.”

But recruiters in the marketing communications area are more optimistic.

Debbie Kitson, director of Portfolio Recruitment, says her agency has received an increase in the number of briefs in the last two months.

She has also noticed an increase in overseas applicants, but is quick to point out employers will always choose Kiwis first, provided they have the necessary skills for the job.

There are still shortages in the interactive design side of web development, an area Kitson says has always been under resourced.

Specialist advertising recruitment firm 3rd Eye managing director Andy Sive gives it a year before any significant signs of a market pick-up become visible.

“Things are starting to improve but we are not on the upward path. I’m an optimist but also a realist.”

He says there is one group bucking the redundancy trend – indie advertising agencies.

While big international companies are at the mercy of their overseas head offices, indie agencies only have themselves to account for.

“The owners have taken big salary cuts to keep staff on board,” says Sive.

Another area that has avoided the downward trend is contracting. Managing director of Gaulter Russell, James Brooke, says prior to May last year contracting was a tight market but now companies are looking for contractors rather than permanent staff.

“The market is a lot more positive now than it has been in the last 12 months.”

He expects the market to pick up a gear next year, particularly in February, a traditionally busy month for recruiters.

Green shoots? Potentially. The cautious optimsim from the  recruiters matches the mood from yesterday’s Business Outlook survey by the National Bank.

“A net 34 percent of respondents expect better times over the next 12 months, up 16 percentage points on July. The construction industry remains at the forefront of renewed optimism with a net 64 percent expecting better times ahead, levels last seen in the early 1990s,”  the survey says.

Those spring wind couldn’t blow sooner.

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