LONDON: The public relations and marketing industries are showing provisional signs of recovery in the UK, as hiring in both of these areas starts to increase.

Reed, the recruitment specialist, reported that its regular index assessing the number of new job opportunities stood at 102 points in March, down from 105 points in February.

"Across the board, employers have become more cautious about committing to new recruitment," Martin Warnes, the managing director of, said.

More positively, however, its corresponding barometer for the marketing and PR category stood at 117 points overall in the third month of 2010.

This constituted an improvement of seven points compared with February this year, and an uptick of 17 points measured against December 2009.

"Demand for qualified accountants and strategic consultants is now at its highest level since the index started late last year, in spite of pre-election jitters in the City," Warnes added.

"This could indicate that the business service sector will once again lead the economy out of recession."

In apparent confirmation of this trend, the CBI, the industry body, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the consultancy, found that many financial brands are preparing to boost their marketing spend this year.

Their survey of senior executives in this segment revealed that 47% were planning to increase their investment in communications over the course of 2010, the highest total for a decade.

However, the CBI also warned that around 17,000 jobs could be lost in the financial sector during the first half of this year, while economists expect total unemployment to rise to 2.8 million over the course of this year.

ZenithOptimedia, the media network owned by Publicis Groupe, recently predicted that adspend levels in the UK will expand by 1.3% this year and a further 1.1% in 2011.

In a separate forecast, Carat, which is part of Aegis, pegged these figures at 2.9% and 4% respectively, as the advertising market returns to growth following the economic downturn.

Data sourced from Times Online/CBI; additional content by Warc staff