The advertising industry has experienced a complete about-turn in its recruitment levels, following record-breaking job losses in 2009.

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) said that staffing levels in its member agencies experienced a 1.1 per cent rise in 2010, with the number of people employed rising to 18,843.

The rise follows 2009’s staggering cutting of staff, that saw a decline in numbers of 7.4 per cent – the biggest decrease since 1993. The IPA’s census of its agencies also found that the recruitment process had shifted towards taking on greater numbers of freelance and temporary staff, as companies seek to accommodate the continuing economic uncertainty.

The IPA’s director general, Hamish Pringle, said the changing recruitment process had brought a new diversity to the industry, with the managerial gender gap closing slightly and the ethnic proportion of the workforce increasing by 1.1 per cent.

“It’s pleasing to see the slow but steady improvement in the diversity of employees, though we’ve got a way to go yet,” he said.

“We’re convinced that this trend will help give our members competitive advantage in persuading marketers who want global strategies, channel planning and creative content, but with local market adaptability, to hub their brands out of the UK.”

Geoff Newman from online recruitment firm Recruitment Genius suggests “Despite the recent uncertainty over the UKs negative growth we have noticed a strong upsurge in the recruitment of advertising sales people. Hopefully businesses are starting to advertise again and employers are feeling more confident.”

Statistically, more than 1,700 temp workers were employed in 2010, compared to 886 in 2009. The proportion of women in agency management roles rose from 20 per cent in 2009 to 22.4 per cent in 2010, but the overall workforce maintained an equal male/female split.

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