Due to tough markets, some businesses, have downsized their marketing and sales teams to cut costs; as a result, Ten2Two has seen a decline in marketing jobs since the beginning of the year.

There is a common assumption that Brexit negotiations have drastically reduced job opportunities, however, we are delighted to confirm that there has been a steady flow of vacancies in financial and legal roles, which we expect to see increase further into the second quarter of 2019.

Brexit is also contributing to greater levels of interim recruitment as the uncertainty drives employers to hire a flexible workforce – this is creating a high level of competition for the strongest candidates, thus allowing them to increase their rates.

Marketing budgets make a surprise return to growth

The good news is that despite this uncertainty UK companies revised their marketing budgets up markedly in the first quarter of 2019.

Paul Bainsfair, IPA director general, says: “This sharp increase following Q4 2018’s flatlining signals that UK marketing budgets have received a much-needed kiss of life in an economy gripped by Brexit uncertainty. The smart marketers realise that to grow their businesses, they must invest in them, particularly in mass reach, long-term media.

But why has this not been reflected in headcount?

“The latest Bellwether survey indicates a more cautious approach to recruitment over the coming three months,” the report says. “While the need for talented new staff and plans to develop and launch new products supported job creation prospects, indecisiveness due to economic and political uncertainty and reports of rising operating costs somewhat constrained hiring.”

All too often we see caution in hiring as an indicator of concern for the financial prospects of both the company and the wider industry, but this cautious behaviour needs to be met with a challenge as tightening budgets in prospective growth and business development roles could further impact profitability in time.

How can we work with this data to provide a sustainable solution?

With women outnumbering the men in Kent and an ageing workforce, we strongly recommend utilising an untapped talent pool of women who are looking to bring their experience into an organisation whilst working flexibly. This can be a good cost-effective way of maintaining a level of marketing activity.

Also, technology allows for a level of autonomy and some remote working (saving on desk space). Home working is an obvious choice but also taking advantage of the fast-growing, co-working spaces. These communities often have creative hubs where likeminded skills come together. We know of a few here in Kent with many more in the planning.

Furthermore, there is a big movement towards focusing on workplace wellbeing, with several campaigns, events and initiatives to raise awareness of health in the workplace, including Mental Health Awareness week taking place.

Companies that do not offer flexible working are becoming the minority

Becky and Paul Simms of Reflect Digital introduced the four-day week at digital marketing agency Reflect Digital. COO Paul, shares why they chose to make the change to a 4-day working week

“We believe, and recent studies have shown, that moving to a 4-day working week can improve productivity, reduce stress and improve team motivation as well as overall well-being. We believe this will also be a great thing for our clients as happier, more motivated staff will produce better results.”

Nick Kelly, Managing Director of Afia, came to us seeking specialist staff for his successful Kent-based business. As a result of introducing four flexible members of staff to his business and the positive experience of doing so, he comments:

“We have restructured the business and now offer all our team the opportunity to work flexible hours, from home or the office. Our productivity has increased sharply, the commitment and enthusiasm from everyone is noticeably higher and we are all happier and a good deal less stressed.”

What is the proven rule to gain competitive advantage?

There is still a need for more professional services to be open to this way of recruiting and for firms to offer more understanding and awareness of their employees’ needs, however, we are pleased to see the number of roles increasing.

“While the forecast for the year ahead remains uncertain given the seemingly endless Brexit negotiations, those that want real competitive advantage should follow the proven rule that if you increase your share of voice above your share of market, you should expect to experience growth.”

Great advice from Paul Bainsfair that we hope many Kent and Bromley businesses will listen to.

With over 500 candidates for marketing roles in our community, what are you waiting for?

Get in touch to find out how we can make this work for you.

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