Survey shows rainbows, kittens and lollipops on marcomms horizon

Global design and marketing staffing company Aquent has released its 2010 Market Eye survey, which offers a snapshot of hiring intentions and salary predictions for the marketing and design industries in Australasia. And the results bode well for continued recovery, with particularly strong signs of recruitment glee in New Zealand.

The survey canvassed 496 employers and 457 employees in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide and it showed that renewed confidence is evident with regards to hiring intentions. There’s also a corresponding willingness by employers to invest in permanent staff through salary increases.

Aquent regional director, Australia and New Zealand, Simon Lusty, says the Market Eye survey points towards the New Zealand and Australian design and marketing sectors heading into rebuild mode following the widespread cuts of 2009.

“Following the catastrophic decline in hiring intentions throughout 2009, widespread staff redundancies and general panic as employers struggled to ride the economic downturn, it is pleasing to see that the employment market has bounced back in 2010,” he says. ‘While a degree of hesitancy remains across New Zealand, employers are feeling more upbeat about the future and this is translating to a more buoyant hiring market.”

The survey showed only 15 percent of Kiwi employers had cut their permanent headcount over the past six months. By extension, nearly 40 percent of employers had bolstered their permanent headcount over the same period and 47 percent expect to add additional headcount in the next six months, with digital agencies (64 percent) leading the revival.

Sentiment with regards to the use of freelance and contract staff is also improving, with 48 percent of employers increasing their use of freelance staff over past six months and nearly 37 percent of employers planning to increase use of such staff over the coming six months.

It’s not all beer and skittles, however: 48 percent of employers in the design and marketing sectors aren’t planning on changing to their current use of freelance staff in the next six months.

Salaries, however, are on the rise. Over 50 percent of employers across Auckland increased staff salaries over the past six months, while 56 percent of employers expect to increase salaries in the next six months.

Aquent also asked employers and employees about the most effective staff retention strategies. Both count flexible work practices and career development programmes as the top two most effective retention strategies. Pies in faces may also help. But, reflecting the ongoing disparity between employer and employee motivations, employers count discretionary bonuses as the third most important strategy, while employees ranked this fifth, instead nominating external training programmes and additional leave entitlements as more effective retention strategies.

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