Owatonna, Minn.

Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.

The most widely followed employment report in the direct marketing industry, distributed to thousands of agencies, service providers and direct marketing organizations, the Bernhart Associates Employment Survey is now in its eighth year. It tracks an industry that employs and directly supports 10.9 million jobs in the United States, and accounts for approximately 10 percent of the total gross domestic product, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

As online marketers' growth rates have slowed due to the stumbling economy, so too have their hiring plans. This was a key finding from the first exclusive eM+C/Bernhart Associates Employment Survey. eM+C is partnering with Bernhart Associates Executive Search, an Owatonna, Minn.-based executive search firm focusing on multichannel marketing, in what will become a regular feature in the magazine and on the eMarketingandCommerce.com Web site.

With the pendulum beginning to shift from a candidate-driven job market to an employer-driven market, those companies not locked in a hiring freeze are carefully selecting from the brimming talent pool, according to Jerry Bernhart, president of Owatonna, Minn.-based Bernhart Associates Executive Search. The firm’s January 7, 2008 employment survey, a random survey of 79 companies, predicts more hiring freezes and increased layoffs this quarter. According to the report, 58 percent of companies surveyed said they plan to add to staff during the first quarter of 2008, down 2 percent from the previous survey (conducted last October). Not only are companies increasing layoffs and

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