Although still negative overall, expectations around marketing jobs has improved thanks in part to the government’s extension of the furlough scheme.

While the outlook for jobs in marketing remains pessimistic there are signs of improvement, according to new research created exclusively for Marketing Week.

The latest data from IPA Bellwether Report shows an economy still struggling with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and several periods of consumer lockdown, but the market does look to be moving in the right direction.

A net balance of 1.2% of respondents are expecting a decline in workforce numbers this quarter, compared to 31.5% in the third quarter of 2020 and 50.3% during the second quarter. This change represents a substantial shift in sentiment.

Indeed, a fifth of respondents (21.8%) expect staffing levels to increase over the next three months, the highest level since the pandemic began. This is up from 12.4% in the third quarter of 2020 and 5.2% in the second quarter.

More than half (55.3%) of respondents expect to maintain their current staffing levels this quarter, while 22.9% anticipate a reduction in headcount.

Do you expect overall employment to be higher, the same or lower at your company in three months’ time compared to current levels?

Higher Same Lower Net +/-
Q3 2019 17.9% 65.6% 16.5% +1.4
Q4 2019 22.9% 59% 18% +4.9
Q1 2020 17.3% 51.5% 31.2% -13.9
Q2 2020 5.2% 39.4% 55.5% -50.3
Q3 2020 12.4% 43.8% 43.8% -31.5
Q4 2020 21.8% 55.3% 22.9% -1.2

However, while the decreased pessimism may reflect the UK government’s decision to extend the furlough scheme for employers until the end of April, the IPA points out that the research was undertaken before the latest Covid-19 lockdown was announced earlier this month.

Meanwhile, research from LinkedIn finds digital marketing is among the fastest growing sectors for new jobs in the UK. Social media and digital marketing roles grew by 52% in 2020, according to an analysis of LinkedIn’s 29 million UK members.

“Despite the challenges the industry experienced last year, it’s positive to see the rise in demand for digital marketing and social media talent, as well as creative and digital content freelancers, as companies invest in their brand to support a return to growth,” says LinkedIn head of marketing solutions Tom Pepper.

The LinkedIn study also shows a 143% increase in those hired for ecommerce-related roles during the pandemic and a 118% rise in digital content freelance roles.

“Digital skills are going to grow in importance this year as brands increasingly shift spending to digital channels to drive greater reach and business impact,” says Pepper.

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