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Q2 Industry Job Outlook: Flat

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There's little surprise that by one estimate, the outlook for marketing communications and ad jobs is expected to be flat in the second quarter, with 13 percent of industry executives recently polled saying they plan to increase their full-time staff while 12 percent said they expect to decrease the number of employees.

More interestingly, this particular survey -- The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals -- may offer an insight into changing industry dynamics: Despite high unemployment levels, 45 percent of respondents said it is challenging for their firms to find skilled professionals.

The specialty areas they found in demand: Web design and production ranked first, with 15 percent of respondents saying they planned to hire in that area in the second quarter. That was followed by 14 percent for employers looking for those in print design and production; 13 percent in creative and art direction; 12 percent in account services; 12 percent in marketing research; 12 percent in interactive; 11 percent in public relations; 10 percent in brand and product management; 10 percent in media services; and 5 percent, copywriting.

The national study was developed by The Creative Group, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based marketing and creative staffing agency, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 500 telephone interviews, with about 375 of them with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with ad execs randomly chosen from agencies with 20 or more staffers.

"With lingering uncertainty about the economy, many companies are using freelancers or consultants to fill their staffing needs until they are confident of their ongoing business demands," said Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group. "Employers also are re-evaluating their personnel requirements to ensure they have the right people in place to capitalize on emerging opportunities as the economy improves."