Our 2014 Hiring Predictions

As our senior recruiter, Kathryn Lorenzen, often says, “I don’t have the time to write you a short explanation”, so …

We didn’t make hiring predictions for 2013, but as the economy continues to show positive strides, at a slow and steady pace, we’re going to take a stab at 2014.

First, let’s look at some insight that we’re using to provide these predictions.

1. There is encouraging data from many sources. Kiplinger’s 12/23/13 Economic Outlooks say that the number of layoffs is declining and the 6 month average of people leaving their jobs — voluntarily or not — is approaching a level more typical of an economic expansion. (Kiplinger Economic Outlooks)

2. And yet, there is still more uncertainty than not and every hiccup (or full-fledged gastric attack) contributes to the wait-and-see attitude employers have had for the past 5 years. U.S. debt negotiations early in 2014 are still an unknown and Career Builder’s survey says that 23% will either slow the pace of hiring or wait until Congress resolves the debt question. Of course there continues to be speculation that the Affordable Care Act will persuade employers to lower hours for employees or keep them on part-time only status (but we have not seen evidence of this with our client companies). (Career Builder Hiring Forecast Trends)

3. Supply and demand fluctuates and may increase applicant price (salaries, incentives, etc.). In our region, the marketing and creative jobs salaries have barely changed from 2008, but we expect that to start showing signs of change this year.

4. The CIO role is becoming more popular within the world of advertising, and surveys indicate that there will be increased hiring there. A modest number of ad firms have creative and other departments reporting up to the CIO.

5. Tech is the hot topic. In Kansas City and the Midwest there have been many start-ups (Silicon Prairie News annual most-read list) and solid accelerator organizations (SparkLabKC, Sprint, to name two) are a big boon to these start-ups. These accelerators are phase two for many innovators and they provide mentors, seed capital, business advisory services and access to investors.

6. MarketingProfs reports that there is a talent gap in digital labor and the need continues to grow. Forty percent aren’t able to find sufficient talent to handle their digital marketing workloads; two-thirds of respondents are dissatisfied with their company’s ability to assess new digital hires. (MarketingProfs State of Digital Marketing Talent Skills)

7. The Creative Group’s forecast for the last half of 2013 was accurate in the Kansas City and general Midwest markets: the majority of employers (59%) only hired replacements; hiring freezes, not filling vacated positions came in at 25%. The survey, as reported by MarketingProfs, also showed that web design/production was the highest staffing need for that period. (MarketingProfs Hiring Outlook for Creative Marketing Talent)

8. Content marketing will grow faster than either SEO or Social Media Marketing (Moz Blog: predictions for marketing in 2014) . It is undeniably hot right now, and companies are making investments at a pace not seen since the social media marketing craze of 2008-2010. Currently, LinkedIn shows:

*1,268,195 profiles with “SEO”

*2,767,263 profiles with “social media marketing”

*81,529 profiles with “content marketing”

9. 2014 may be better for college graduates entering the workforce. Employers will hire more new college graduates for U.S. operations in 2013-14 than they did in 2012-13, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ NACE 2014 Job Outlook Survey. The results from the survey revealed that companies overall will hire 12% more new college graduates for U.S. and international locations combined. (NACE job outlook)

10. And finally, according to a survey by Right Management, many workers will be looking for new employment opportunities in 2014. In addition, 12% were unsure but admitted to networking and updating their resume; only 5% plan to stay in their current position. (Right Management press release)

So, drumroll please … here are our five predictions based on these insights and filtered with what we’re learning from our clients:

1. The days of mass hiring and staffing-up pre-2008 are gone. Employers have learned to get by with less. However, companies have to remain competitive, so they will hire the best talent for critical positions as needed and look for temporary/contract talent to fill in the gaps as required to get the work done.

2. Social media jobs will be in demand, not for specialists or recent college grads, but rather for seasoned pros formerly from other disciplines, who get it, who are more generalists, and who can approach social media strategically. They also get the big picture, and understand the importance of integration with traditional media.

3. Content marketing positions (curator, strategist, specialist, etc.) will become more and more mainstream as functions with both agencies and companies.

4. Candidates (from any discipline — Account Service, Creative, Media, PR, etc.) with strong technical skill sets will be winners. We don’t mean you have to be a developer or business analyst, but you have to understand and appreciate the importance of data analytics.

5. In creative staffing, there will be more blurred lines than in the past. Client companies and agencies will look for more generalists. The traditionally siloed organization will take on a much different structure going forward.

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