Trends in Local Search Hiring-Part 1, Directories

Robert Hawthorne robert@hawthornesearch.com
10/2/11

For over a decade we have worked with publishers and CMRs finding everything from front line sales and marketing professionals to CEOs on an international basis. By our estimates we have placed well over 500 professionals industry wide. On a daily basis we speak to dozens of industry professionals at all levels, giving us some unique perspectives on the talent side of the industry.

Here are some of our takes on the publishing and CMR side of the business for 2011 thus far:

1) International has action. We have seen a significant number of search assignments come in with publishers in Latin, Central and South America. The take seems to be that the erosion of print that has occurred in the states has not come into play at a meaningful rate as of yet. Why? We have been told that broadband internet rates are much lower in most countries, and there seems to be two tiers: print and mobile with a strong audience for both. The take away is that there are jobs with many publishers outside of the United States

2) Mid-Career professionals worried. I can’t tell you how many calls I get from sales directors, national sales leaders or others who are the back bone of the directory space. They are worried not only about their long term career prospects, but also about the short terms. With the demise of a number of publishers, everyone is on their toes and looking for a life raft. We hear from many publishers that things are holding up remarkably well, but there seems to be a skittishness among the rank and file. Our hope is that an upturn in the economy will remedy some of this.

3) CMRs consolidating. Jenny Ciappa on our team has personally been involved in the buy/sell of over a half dozen CMRs this year alone. She is constantly fielding calls from both those looking to acquire and those looking for an exit strategy. We all know how tough things have gotten in the national space in recent years, so it is not surprising that business owners are looking to leverage their business while they still have time.

4) Publishers scrambling for up and coming sales talent. Publishers from coast to coast continue to add sales professionals, usually due to poor performance or normal staff attrition. We are told that it is of paramount importance to attract professionals either right out of school or with a handful of years of experience. Publisher rightfully so want a balanced sales force with up and comers as well as experienced industry professionals. The challenge is attracting a population that grew up getting most of its information online and may not have familiarity or interest in a primarily print product. Please check back as we will be launching a series on how to attract these people to your staff.

5) Less Managers. We have noticed that many publishers are consolidating operations, trimming middle and senior manager headcount, and putting more reps under remaining managers. We are seeing this “squeeze” from coast to coast as publishers try and maintain profitability without raising prices or trimming compensation for their sales force. We have seen about a 25% uptick in the number of manager resumes received this year versus 2010

If you want more information, or are looking to hire, call me at 910-798-1800 x101 or email robert@hawthornesearch.com

COMING SOON: PART 2, ONLINE SEARCH