In a welcome palliative to the UK's typically bleak winter months, recent news about the economy has been surprisingly sunny. While the recovery hailed by George Osborne and his colleagues is still relatively flimsy, it nevertheless indicates that the country is moving away from the difficulties of the last few years.
This has been reflected in confidence among business leaders, with the Confederation for British Industry recording a drop in unemployment as more firms take on staff in a bid to develop their working model and expand their operation.
Among marketing, comms and digital professionals, this boost has been especially pronounced – findings from our latest Salary and Market Trend report, show that 36 per cent of workers anticipate an increase in headcount at their company over the course of the year.
Pleasingly, a great deal of this expansion looks set to come from small to medium-sized businesses rather than their larger counterparts - 41 per cent of professionals working in this sector are predicting a boost in staff numbers.
Opportunities look set to increase for digital and marketing experts across the board, as is reflected in the figures recorded in our survey. Some 51 per cent of respondents expressed optimism about the next 12 months, with only 15 per cent pessimistic about how the market will develop in this period.
The possibility that more positions will become available in 2014 appears to have affected how people are viewing their current roles, as 44 per cent of marketers are planning to move jobs this year. Given that 88 per cent plan to remain in the same sector, this should mean businesses can access a major pool of talent over the coming year.
However, this shift will create new challenges for both candidates and recruiters, as the market becomes increasingly competitive.
For the latter, it will be important to ensure they are offering competitive packages to potential hires, both in terms of remuneration levels and career development - this is especially true when it comes to bringing in younger workers, who are often more concerned with developing their skills than with the basic pay package available.
On the other side of the coin, candidates will need to be aware that many people from a similar background will be competing with them for the best positions. Ensuring they have an up-to-date CV and stressing their key skills and experiences can help them stand out from the crowd, while working with an expert recruitment firm can help them get in touch with the right businesses.
Furthermore, they are advised to keep track of trends in the sector, with a number of key skills expected to be called for among companies planning to keep touch with their rivals throughout 2014.
Speaking to Marketing Week, group marketing director at Livebookings Gemma Carver recently stressed the importance of social media for businesses.
"It's no longer just about Facebook or Twitter, but a myriad of sites such as Snapchat, Tinder, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Many of these have streamlined the social experience and do just one thing, meaning most people have three or four social profiles," she declared
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