Greatest Demand for Business Development Talent

May 8, 2003

MENLO PARK, CA -- Demand for advertising and marketing professionals will accelerate in the coming months, according to a new survey. Forty-four percent of advertising and marketing professionals polled said their firms will be increasing staff levels within the next 12 months. Among those adding to their head count, 47 percent said they are hiring during the current quarter and 28 percent said they expect to add staff in the third quarter of 2003. Business development is the specialty in greatest demand.

The survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing marketing, advertising, creative and web professionals on a project basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes 250 responses -- 125 from advertising executives with the nation's 1,000 largest advertising agencies and 125 from senior marketing executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "Do you expect your firm to increase or decrease staff levels in the next 12 months?" Their responses:

Increase   44%
Decrease   16%
No change   37%
Don't know/no answer       3%

Those who reported that they expected to increase staff levels within the next 12 months were asked, "When do you expect your firm to start hiring?" Their responses:

2nd quarter, 2003   47%
3rd quarter, 2003   28%
4th quarter, 2003   13%
1st quarter, 2004   9%
Don't know/no answer       3%

"Companies that reduced their marketing and advertising efforts as a result of the uncertain economy may be hiring in anticipation of an upturn," said Tracey Turner, executive director of The Creative Group.

Turner noted that while increased hiring activity is expected, the employment environment remains conservative. "Businesses continue to exercise caution in their recruiting efforts. A growing number of firms are bringing people on board on a trial basis before extending a full-time offer to ensure the candidate is a fit and determine if there is sufficient long-term need for the position."

Positions in Demand

Forty-five percent of advertising and marketing executives polled projected that business development positions would experience the greatest demand over the next 12 months. Twenty-two percent of respondents said account managers would be among the most highly sought-after professionals.

"Companies are focused on recruiting 'rainmakers' who can generate revenue by bringing in new business and maintaining existing client relationships," said Turner.

Fourteen percent of executives said media buyers and planners would be among the most in-demand employees, followed by creative and art directors, with 12 percent of the response. (See charts below for details.)

Industries Hiring

When asked which industry would see the greatest demand for creative services in the next 12 months, 23 percent of executives cited pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Another 22 percent said top demand would be within the medical and healthcare industry.

"Informing medical professionals, consumers and investors about new products and services poses a key challenge for pharmaceutical companies, making strategic marketing and advertising campaigns essential," said Turner. "Similarly, the health care industry continues to experience rapid growth and change, expanding the need for targeted consumer outreach and communications programs."

Eighteen percent of respondents said retail and manufacturing would see the strongest growth in the next 12 months, while 16 percent cited business services for expansion.

Projected Hiring: Chart A

Projected Hiring: Chart B

Projected Hiring: Positions in Demand

Projected Hiring: Industry Breakdown

The Creative Group has offices in major markets across the United States and in Canada and offers online job search services at

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