Marketing & Communications Hiring Trends and Transformations in 2022-2023

2022 to 2023 saw significant economic shifts that have directly impacted confidence in the market, demand for growth, and hiring patterns within the marketing and communications sector in the United States. As hiring trends and the talent landscape continue to evolve, it's essential to stay attuned to the business impacts and be prepared for what comes next in what has proven to be a rapidly changing job market.

Economic uncertainties brought both predictable and surprising hiring demands 

Since the start of 2023, we have seen a blend of challenges and opportunities in the US economy. While the world navigated uncertainties, the marketing and communications sector displayed resilience and inconsistency. As integrated agencies adjusted to changing consumer behaviors and market dynamics, the demand for creative and strategic professionals varied across industries. With high interest rates, cost of living, and ongoing talks of recession, we typically see consumer spending trend downwards. Instead, we witnessed employers in travel, hospitality, retail, and CPG continue to hire and thrive. Conversely, with a drop in M&A transactions and VC investments, our team of recruitment consultants experienced an upward shift in demand across crisis, public affairs, government affairs, and policy-related work. 

Trends we’ve seen over the past year

In 2023, remote, hybrid, and return-to-office strategies remain a hot topic with varied opinions across sectors. The Capstone team has seen specific industries - such as professional services, financial services, and typically larger organizations, motivated to return to more traditional schedules, with at least 3-4 days per week on-site. However, we’ve seen a varied approach for the small to mid-size firms. Cost saving remains a crucial driver to retaining remote workers or hot-desk arrangements; savvy employers continue to grasp the importance of flexibility in retaining and securing the best talent, appreciating that one size does not fit all.

The desire to keep headcount and retain the employee growth generated in 2022 further complicates the decision to mandate employees’ in-office attendance. Business owners are still balancing the desire to bring staff back in for culture, development, and productivity, versus the benefits of more flexible hybrid and remote options, which, in addition to obvious cost savings, can open the candidate pool significantly. 

Demand for CSR, DE&I, and purpose-driven communications increased

Both 2022 and 2023 have been significant for inclusion and authenticity in communication. We have seen a shift in how brands communicate with their audiences. The emphasis on authenticity, diversity, and inclusivity has pushed companies to hire professionals who can not only effectively convey these values through their messaging, but reflect them. As a result, professionals with expertise in inclusive marketing, cultural sensitivity, social impact, CSR, and purpose-driven communication found themselves in higher demand.

Adoption and investment in AI have led to growth 

Artificial Intelligence and automation have been the hot topics of 2023 within marketing and communications. We’ve seen large agencies investing heavily into AI by either building their bespoke platforms or acquiring data analytics firms. Larger agencies utilizing AI for content creation and automation, sentiment analysis, and social listening (to name just a few benefits) have continued to grow in 2023.

Our final thoughts

The period from 2022 to 2023 has been marked by a dynamic interplay of technological advancement, changing consumer behaviors, and a renewed focus on authenticity. The marketing and communications sector in the United States has demonstrated adaptability by embracing AI, hybrid work models, and diverse skill sets. As the industry continues to evolve, employers who have been most willing and swift to navigate these shifts, embrace change, and continue to invest in talent that delivers a blend of authenticity, creativity, strategy, and technological acumen to the table have seen most rapid growth over the period and will be the driving force behind the sectors continued success.