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Marketing Job Market

This data was originally featured in the November 15th, 2023 newsletter found here: BUILD YOUR DIGITAL TWIN WITH CUSTOM GPT, MARKETING JOB MARKET

Let’s take a look at the big picture and how marketing is faring, at least in terms of the job market. Is it getting easier or harder for marketers to find new work?

As always, we’ll look to data from the US Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and’s provided datasets. is one of the best sources for information about hiring because it doesn’t cost employers money to post jobs, so many HRIS (human resources information systems) and talent management systems automatically post jobs to, giving a good sense of the big picture for hiring, at least in the USA.

In terms of what we look at, we examine eight major categories of jobs, jobs that tend to have an outsized effect on marketing hiring: – Banking and finance jobs, because that’s where the money comes from for things like startups and investments – Information jobs, because IT and marketing are often commingled – HR jobs, because if HR isn’t hiring… – Management jobs, the people who are usually in charge of marketing – Marketing jobs, of course – Sales jobs, the people who are downstream from marketing and generate the revenue – Software development jobs, the people who work on the tools that provide marketing capabilities – And all open positions, because if people don’t have jobs, they don’t spend money, and that dampens demand for marketing eventually

What does the big picture, post-pandemic, look like? pandemic data

What we see is that hiring has more or less leveled off in 2023. The horizontal black line on the graph indicates the baseline from February 2020, before the pandemic, and we see the massive distortions in the labor market since then. It looks like things are more or less back to normal… sort of.

Of special note – the red line represents all open positions. Hiring has remained broadly elevated, but many of these professional services/office jobs have fallen far below the hiring for the economy as a whole. Why this is the case, it’s not clear from the data, but at the end of 2022, the broader economy’s jobs decoupled from office jobs.

Let’s take a deeper look at 2023: 2023 Data

2023 started with the eight major categories all still well above baseline. By April, we started to see some significant weakness, particularly in marketing, software development, and IT. That weakness has persisted through the year, with sales jobs joining the below-baseline group in September.

More immediately, it looked at the end of September like marketing jobs (the purple line above) were turning a corner – and then that trend reverted in October. Why? Again, it’s unclear from the data, but we do see a significant loss in sales hiring contemporaneous with the decline in marketing jobs.

So what? What should we take away from this?

If you’re a company that’s hiring, the market is currently in your favor for sales folks, IT, software developers, and marketers. If you’ve been thinking about bringing on new people, now’s a great time to do it as you may be able to scoop up previously unavailable talent.

If you’re a marketer looking for work, the market is currently tougher than usual for the last couple of years. Anecdotally, some companies are making very short-sighted choices about staffing levels in marketing with the advent of generative AI; one company reportedly cut 80% of its marketing staff after senior leadership believed AI could do everything. They’re in for a rude awakening in a few months when they find out generative AI is very capable at tasks, but not jobs, and jobs require people.

If you’re looking for work, what should you do? There’s always a second job market that’s invisible to the data we all have access to. That second job market is built on relationships – who you know, and as our friend and colleague Mitch Joel says, who knows you. If you’ve got both skills and a personal network, you may even be able to create a job where one didn’t exist previously. At the very least, people who know you can alert you to positions that may exist that haven’t been posted publicly anywhere, giving you an opportunity to apply before they’ve opened up to the general public.

How do you find those positions? It’s all about building those professional relationships. Be an active, valuable member of communities where other professionals gather, such as Slack groups, Discord servers, LinkedIn groups, Threads communities, etc. Get to know people, and get other people to know you and what you’re good at.

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