Sunday, April 11, 2010

So, How is Business?

Everyone is looking for good news. We all want the economy to be better. We want our businesses to improve. We want to be able to hire and be hired.

The first question every client I speak to and every candidate who calls or comes in asks is, “how is business?”.

I wish for all of us that I could give a better answer, but unfortunately, this remains a jobless recovery.  The stock market seems to be up; consumer confidence is up; the GDP is growing again.  Surely jobs will follow soon. 

Many years of recruiting has taught me that recruiters are a perfect barometer for the economy. I sensed the beginning of this downward slide in the Spring of ’07, long before the pundits were saying negative things. I could see the number of jobs we carry declining. In the same way, I can see when recovery is beginning – the number of our jobs steadily increases. Unfortunately, unless things are drastically different from other recessions, the recovery has not started yet.

But there are positive signs. We do have more jobs now than we did a month or so ago. We have jobs in all disciplines – General advertising, digital, direct marketing in account management, media, planning and strategic planning as well as corporate marketing and advertising. We even have jobs for account executives, something we have not seen in over two years.

But will it last? Or is it a spike. In three years we have seen a number of these hiring spikes, but after six or eight weeks, they peter out.

National unemployment remains at 9.7%; I believe advertising unemployment is upwards of 15%. When the national numbers come down, advertising and marketing will begin to hire again.

So all we can do is wait and keep our fingers crossed, and watch the numbers each month.

In the meanwhile, there are still wonderful candidates out of work. And for those of you who are doubting Thomas’s, just look at McCann this past week. They cannot possibly absorb all the excellent account people who were working on Verizon. And that leaves an opportunity for me to have a cache of great candidates.


  1. Paul, as you know better than I, unfortunately your business is facing a "doubly whammy", declining staffing needs given the weak economy and the perception, right or wrong, that technology makes direct recruitment easy without pros like you (for what it's worth I disagree). There will always be need for the Paul Gumbiner's of the industry but even when the economy rebounds (and it is beginning) there will be fewer exec recruiters left.

  2. Paul,

    I, too, am an advertising old-timer. I grew up in the business and follow it avidly. I'm enjoying your blog.



I would welcome your comments, suggestions or anything you would like to share with me or my readers.

Creative Commons License