This post is contributed by the Burtch Works Marketing Research Career Advocate team.
At Burtch Works, we make it our mission to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the hiring market, ensuring that both our candidates and clients are well-informed about the industry’s latest staffing trends. Through our hiring surveys, we gain valuable insights into the strategies that teams are implementing for the first half of the year.
In our most recent effort, we conducted a quick survey of leaders in marketing research and insights, with the aim of gauging their hiring plans for the first two quarters of 2023.
Hiring on Research Teams: Q1 and Q2 of 2023
After conducting a survey of more than 115 companies across the United States, we found that despite potential economic uncertainty, a little over a quarter of all marketing research and insights teams (26%) plan to increase their team headcount. On the other hand, 23% intend to reduce their hiring in Q1 and Q2, while the remaining half of teams plan to maintain their staffing levels (51%).
This year, permanent hiring remains the preferred method for staffing research and insights teams, with 62% of our sample indicating plans to bring on professionals in a permanent capacity. Meanwhile, 28% of respondents reported taking a combined approach to leverage both permanent and contract hiring to best fit their needs, while 10% stated their hiring efforts would focus solely on contract/temporary roles.
More than half of the teams surveyed (52%) indicated that their hiring initiatives were driven by the need to backfill roles due to attrition. The effects of the “Great Resignation” and last year’s hot job market are still impacting some teams with existing vacancies, while others may just be responding to natural attrition. Some teams plan to grow by adding to their headcount (27%) in the first half of the year, while others reported plans to expand their bandwidth through temporary or project-based hiring (21%).
Potential Economic Downturn and its Impact on Hiring in Q1/Q2
The marketing research and insights industry experienced a surge in demand and increased hiring in 2021 and the first half of 2022, in line with the broader hiring landscape. However, we noticed the market tempering a bit last fall, and headlines in 2023 have shown signs of a softening economy, with major tech companies announcing layoffs and some industries like financial services paring back teams. When asked if the news of a potential economic downturn has impacted their hiring plans, 41% of research and insights teams reported altering their plans, 34% stated that their plans have somewhat shifted, and 25% revealed that their hiring plans have not been impacted by the potential economic uncertainties.
Regarding their hiring plans in the event of an economic downturn within the next six months, a majority of the survey sample (36%) indicated they will only hire when someone leaves. One in three anticipated no changes to their hiring plans (33%), while 23% predicted that they will freeze all hiring. Only 8% of the sample expected a plan to lay off employees if an economic downturn occurs in Q1/Q2.
Strong Demand for Marketing Research and Insights Professionals in the Face of Economic Challenges
Despite potential economic downturns, there is still strong demand for marketing research and insights professionals as organizations prioritize consumer-centric strategies and data-driven decision-making to remain resilient in the face of economic challenges.
While teams may be cautiously planning for hiring in Q1 and Q2 of 2023, it’s important for job seekers in this field to remain informed and adaptable to the evolving landscape by continuously developing and sharpening their skills and considering diversifying their industry expertise to broaden their future job opportunities across various sectors and categories.
For employers seeking to hire research and insights professionals, it’s crucial to adjust recruitment strategies to attract and retain top talent while keeping in mind the shifting market conditions. While the hiring landscape may have cooled down slightly compared to the past two years, it remains competitive, with strong candidates going off the market quickly. Thus, it’s essential to move swiftly if you find a candidate who would be an excellent fit for your team.
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