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DM Job-Search Time Almost Doubles: Study

By Ken Magill

08/24/2010

Job prospects for out-of-work direct marketers have taken a sharp turn for the worse in the last 12 months, according to a study released earlier today by Bernhart Associates Executive Search.

Nearly one third of the 448 respondents—who are all unemployed—said they have been looking for work for more than 18 months, according to Bernhart. Moreover, the median length of unemployment among direct marketers is 12 months, significantly up from 6.5 months in a similar study Bernhart conducted a year ago.

Jerry Barnhart, principal of Bernhart Associates, said he doesn’t see an upturn anytime soon.

“I see no change for the rest of the year,” Bernhart said. “Everybody has more or less locked in their plans.”

He also said he doesn’t expect much to change in direct-marketing hiring next year.

“I’m not hearing a lot of talk about companies ramping up their hiring for 2011,” he said.

The amount of time it is taking direct marketers to find jobs is more than double that of the American workforce as a whole.

The median time a laid-off worker spent unemployed as of July was just over five months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is down from a peak of 25.8 weeks in April, the longest median time laid-off workers spent looking for jobs since the Bureau began tracking the statistic in 1967.

“While that [the July figure] is significantly less than the median for direct marketers, many direct marketing-related job categories require more specialized knowledge, more training, and higher levels of educational attainment than other jobs that fall into the unskilled labor category,” said Bernhart.

According to the Bernhart Associates survey, 21 percent of unemployed direct marketers said they have been actively looking for full-time work for between one and three months. Twelve percent said their search has lasted from 4 to 6 months, 9 percent said they have been looking for between 7 and 9 months, and 10 percent said they have been on the job hunt 10-12 months, according to Bernhart Associates. The remainder, or 48%, has been looking for more than a year, according to Bernhart Associates.

Not surprisingly, the older an out-of-work direct marketer is, the harder it is to find a new job.

"In the 30 to 39 age bracket, all respondents said they had been searching for a new job for less than one year," Bernhart said. "But of those between 50 and 59, half have been looking for more than a year. And if you are older than 60, you can pretty much expect to be looking for at least 18 months."

Bernhart added he plans to do a similar study in six months.

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