Marketing Hiring Slump Continues

This data was originally featured in the May 15th, 2024 newsletter found here: INBOX INSIGHTS, MAY 15, 2024: FINDING YOUR WHY, MARKETING HIRING SLUMP CONTINUES

In this week’s Data Diaries, by request from our friend Matt, we’re freshening up our employment data. Let’s take a look at open job positions to see how the economy is faring. To understand this, we’ll use data from via the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. All the data is benchmarked and indexed on February 2020, the month before the pandemic began.

First, let’s look at how the overall USA economy is faring:

FRED overall

What we see broadly is an ongoing slowing of open positions (the red line) over time, though overall demand is still above pre-pandemic baseline. However, the only sector of the 8 we examine regularly – management jobs – remains above baseline. The other sectors like banking, HR, IT, sales, software development, and marketing have all fallen below baseline.

If we zoom into the last 12 months, we can see things more clearly:

FRED 12 months

Since the beginning of the year, no sector is seeing any significant upticks in hiring, and even management has taken a fall in the last month.

Marketing in particular has had a rough ride; there was a brief upturn at the beginning of the year, but it has since slid to lows not seen since 2021.

Let’s keep our focus on marketing, but look internationally. What do we see around the world? Indeed provides data on 6 economies – Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the USA, and the UK.

FRED Marketing globally

Demand for marketers remains high in France and appears to be stabilizing in Australia. It’s dropping rapidly in Germany, and the remaining economies are showing significant decreases in demand, mirroring the USA.

What do we take from this information, in the big picture? The global demand for marketers has been on a decline since the over-correction in 2020-2022 when companies made wildly rash decisions (massive layoffs in 2020, overhiring in 2021-2022). That said, ideally marketing jobs should be hovering just slightly above baseline in an ideal economy, showing steady growth.

That is clearly not what the data shows.

So what? What do we do with this information? Companies still have to get marketing done, even if they’re not staffing it as well as they could be. If companies aren’t hiring, then employees are required to (I hate this management trope) do more with less.

One of the avenues for accomplishing this is generative AI, and according to the new 2024 Work Trends Index from Microsoft and LinkedIn, a stunning 75% of employees are using generative AI – with or without their companies’ approval. That in turn may be having a suppressive effect on hiring.

If you’re in a position where you need to produce more efficiencies, consider skilling up on generative AI. Not only will it help you in your current position, but according to the same report, 66% of corporate leaders say they wouldn’t hire key personnel without AI skills. In fact, in the report, 71% say they’d rather hire a less experienced candidate with AI skills than a more experienced candidate without them.

It’s still too early to clearly see the impact of AI on marketing hiring, but we can see from the big picture that demand for marketing talent is not on the rise. With such strong statements from leadership about the value of AI skills, now is the time to grow your skills even further.

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