The jobs market for the marketing sector has hit its lowest level for a year as concerns over the impact of Brexit on the economy and business investment hit hiring.
According to data from the IPA’s quarterly Bellwether survey shared exclusively with Marketing Week, nearly 30% of respondents expect to hire more staff in the coming three months. That is in line with how brands feel about the financial futures of their companies.
However, nearly 16% are forecasting a decline in employment, caused by general economy uncertainty and concerns about wider industry performance. That means a net balance of +13.6% for marketing employment prospects, down from +15.5% in the previous quarter and the lowest level since the end of 2016.
Paul Smith, report author and director at IHS Markit, says: “With ongoing worries over the impact of Brexit on future economic activity and investment, it’s perhaps not surprising that financial and employment prospects among companies remain subdued.
“While staffing numbers are forecast to rise in the coming months, they are likely to do so at the slowest rate in a year. Financial prospects for wider industry performance remained in negative territory for an eighth successive quarter.”
The figures are the latest to indicate a gloomy outlook for the marketing industry in 2018. The IPA report also found that levels of budget growth are expected to see a slowdown this year, with the industry body now predicting growth of just 0.3% year on year in 2018, a particularly poor performance given this is a World Cup year.
The challenges come from a number of sources including a squeeze on household incomes and concerns around the rising cost of doing business.
Smith concludes: “These challenges primarily emanate from a squeeze on household incomes as wages once again fall behind living costs. Moreover, there are signs that consumers are putting off major purchases in response to UK economic uncertainty. For example, new car registrations were down sharply in 2017 while housing market transactions have dropped off in recent months.
“Concerns around rising costs are also seen as a threat, meaning that perceived cost-consciousness and positive investment returns will remain important factors in determining marketing budgets and strategies.”