Kaplan-Gardner POV: Leaner and Meaner, Digital Marketing Agencies Resume Hiring and Continue Layoffs Into 2010

Share Article

Digital marketing agencies will continue to lay off employees in 2009 and into 2010 and resume hiring with a refined focus on employees with specialized skills. Kaplan-Gardner interviewed 15 senior executives from the top digital marketing agencies to gather their insights and perspectives on staffing and employment and how the industry is responding.

They're far healthier now and will continue to take a greater percent of marketer's budgets. And that means more hiring into 2010.

Digital marketing agencies will continue to lay off employees in 2009 and into 2010 and resume hiring with a refined focus on employees with specialized skills.

Kaplan-Gardner interviewed 15 senior executives from the top digital marketing agencies to gather their insights and perspectives on staffing and employment and how the industry is responding. Most agencies indicated that they'd used the economic downturn to evaluate the health of their organizations and business models. 67% of the executives acknowledged that their organizations, going into 2009, were bloated due to the hiring frenzy of the past few years. So, they became more nimble and efficient--leaner and meaner. Beginning in late 2008 agencies conducted unprecedented rounds of layoffs, affecting thousands of employees. Some agencies closed offices while others cut salaries or instituted mandatory unpaid leave.

At the same time, specific growth areas emerged--disciplines largely centered on deepening the relationship between brands and their customers, once the domain of traditional agencies. Even as corporate marketers slashed advertising budgets, they continued to move more money to digital, albeit at a slower pace than in previous years. Bolstered by increased client satisfaction with the quality of their work, digital agencies are ramping up hiring again. This time the demand is largely for employees with specialized skills in Strategy, Analytics, Relationship Marketing, Social Media, and Mobile Marketing. They've also expanded the talent search to top consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, BCG, and even technology companies like Accenture, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM and others.

"Agencies got fat over the past five years. The economic downturn was the catalyst to get back in shape," said Evan Kaplan, Kaplan-Gardner's Co-Managing Partner.

The POV entitled, "Leaner and Meaner, Digital Marketing Agencies Resume Hiring and Continue Layoffs Into 2010," revealed the following:

  • 53% of the executives disclosed that they're considering additional layoffs
  • 40% of the executives are currently hiring or planning to hire more talent in key growth areas

Agency Human Resources departments and recruiters were flooded with significantly more applicants for fewer jobs. Today, they're interviewing more applicants and conducting more rounds of interviews for each position and instituting deeper background and reference checks before making offers. They're also taking 25% more time to fill positions--up to eight months at the most senior levels. In turn, job seekers have been forced to accept lower paying and lower level positions than in years past.

The executives described the layoffs as "surgical incisions," designed to trim excess fat. "Agencies are emerging leaner and meaner," said Kaplan. "They're far healthier now and will continue to take a greater percent of marketer's budgets. And that means more hiring into 2010."

The POV, "Leaner and Meaner, Digital Marketing Agencies Resume Hiring and Continue Layoffs Into 2010," is currently available as a free download at http://www.kaplangardner.com/homepage.html

About Kaplan-Gardner

Kaplan-Gardner is a retained search firm specializing in recruiting high-profile executives for the top digital marketing agencies globally. Clients engage us for their most mission-critical positions because of our deep relationships with industry thought leaders and our exceptionally-talented candidates. Candidates entrust us to place them in the most vibrant and cutting-edge positions. We seek long-term success for clients and candidates--through exceptional hires, collaboration, and enduring relationships. And we stand behind the quality of our work. For more information, please visit http://www.kaplangardner.com or contact:

Andrew Gardner
Co-Managing Partner, Kaplan-Gardner
phone: 856.354.2055

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Andrew Gardner
Visit website