When all areas of media are bearing the brunt of the economic slowdown, how can OOH remain unaffected? When the focus is on survival, growth plans are put on the backburner, and along with it vanishes the investment in human resources.
Hiring in the out of home industry has remained flat with players keen on maintaining a steady headcount and getting more out of their existing talent.
“The current times are depressing and hiring seems to be on a hold. Slowdown in the growth of OOH, competitive pressure on pricing, coupled with pressure to maintain profit, has played havoc,” said Vijay Cavale, Director, Brand Connect Communications.
He further explained that PBT in the sector with typical agencies is 4-6 per cent of sales and if there is even a 4-5 basis points dip in margins, it can wipe out profitability.
This is the reason there has not been a lot of cross/ horizontal movement between players and agencies.
Will the festive season turn this around?
Traditionally, OOH industry earns its maximum revenue in the second half of the year, when the festive season buoys market sentiments. Various brands unleash their sale campaigns, brand activation programmes and product launches. And this requires human assets to pull it off. So, with the festive season around the corner, will we see hirings pick up?
“A lot of campaigns are expected in this quarter. Therefore, a company requires more skilled staff to handle this demand. At Global Advertisers, we hired people in first quarter itself to deliver the best solution to our clients in the festive season time,” said Sanjeev Gupta, MD, Global Advertisers.
With tough competition in the marketplace, brands are pushing hard to break through the clutter and be seen. Marketing budgets are being stretched to get the most bang for the buck. In such a challenging scenario, OOH has emerged as the blue eyed medium because of its strength to provide high visibility at low costs. This is certainly good news for the industry and its people.
This is the right time for media professionals to enter the OOH space as the upcoming festive season will open up avenues. Increased demand will push agencies to hire good talent.
Global Advertisers has hired people from executive to national head level. “We are expecting good business from our new teams,” said Gupta.
“We have aggressive hiring plans, but these are driven by the group’s core strategy and business risk diversification plans. So far, this year we have added employees at mid and entry levels and increased our overall headcount by 25 per cent, but the net addition rate in pure play outdoor is single digit,” shared Cavale.
With marketers heavily banking on the upcoming festive season to boost sales and revenues, the OOH industry can look forward to shoring up its business. However, how long the optimism remains will be revealed in the forthcoming quarters. Meanwhile, good talent can always look forward to rewarding assignments, and though hiring is not likely to go up dramatically, there is still a ray of hope here.
With inputs from Priyanka Nair