MENLO PARK, CA: Advertising and marketing recruitment activity will slow in the second half of the year, as a new survey shows that two thirds of executives plan to maintain their teams at current levels, hiring only to fill vacated positions.

The Creative Group, a specialist staffing agency, carried out more than 400 telephone interviews – including some 200 marketing executives randomly selected from US companies with 100 or more employees and 200 advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

This revealed that 21% of advertising and marketing executives intended to expand their teams between July and December, down from 33% in the first six months of the year.

Only 1% expected to reduce or eliminate positions, compared to 6% in the first half.

Creative/art direction and account services were the roles they most anticipated having to recruit for during the remainder of the year, with 27% of respondents citing these, followed by content marketing and interactive media (26% each).

Account services was also one of the most difficult areas to fill, along with brand/product management.

Or is the task getting any easier. Forty two percent of respondents said it was challenging to find skilled creative professionals today, up one percent from six months ago.

"With continued demand for creative talent and a shrinking pool of skilled applicants, it's more important than ever for companies to move quickly when hiring, or they risk losing out to more nimble firms," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group.

"Offering competitive pay and perks that support work-life balance can be instrumental in attracting candidates with hard-to-find skills," she added. "Salaries that were competitive even a year ago likely need to be re-evaluated."

Chris Chalk, global chief strategy officer at Cheil, has described the ideal candidate for agencies to recruit.

"Experience and capability in given functions is important," he wrote in Admap, "but it is no longer enough in itself. Instead, agencies must recruit a new school of 'curious mutants' who are inquisitive about other channels and subjects.

"They must be fully rounded and not just blinkered specialists, and the whole agency must be unavoidably integrated."

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff