Digital industries’ workforce withstand economic jitters

Ever wondered how people really feel about their careers and futures in the digital industries? Amid the buffeting winds of economic turbulence, are we blasé or nervous, excited or fearful? Now you can find out - and add your own sentiments to the big picture equation.

In the shape of the first monthly survey results - plus the meatier quarterly analysis - of the Digital Pulse 'confidence index' Chinwag has launched, the beginnings of a deeper answer to the question are out of the gates.

And right from the off, Digital Pulse is brimful of choice statistics and factoids for anyone in the biz to ponder...

First off, the magic number - the Digital Pulse index for March 2008 is 122.1. Translation? This overall index (aggregated from the 5 indices measured each month) suggests a positive view of market conditions for digital businesses, where 100 equals a neutral response on a scale of 0-200.

What else do the survey results reveal? Resilience is the overriding story here, but there are also salary pressures (exacerbated by the skills shortage) and other concerns for business.

In general, the digital industries wear credit crunch concerns lightly: 72% of respondents are positive or very positive about current market conditions with an index of 145.7.

Digital recruitment is flying high and workforce confidence in current employment opportunities is high with an index of 152.3. But across all areas of new media, elevated salary expectations are also rife. As many as 62% of respondents thought their salary didn’t reflect their true worth, with greatest dissatisfaction amongst client-side and online publishing professionals... Does this ring a bell?

Tellingly, confidence in the is future falling - respondents have less confidence with conditions in six months time, with the index falling by 8% to 133.6. Freelancers were 12% less positive than permanent staff, with 18% of freelancers negative about prospects in six months time.

The agency sector boasts the highest confidence - web agencies and advertising / marketing agencies are most confident in both current and future market conditions with a 77% positive response to the present climate. Online publishing is least confident and most negative, with 36% giving a negative response to current conditions.

The recruitment market remains fluid - 25% answered positively about the likelihood of moving jobs in the next six months with client-side staff most likely to be moving.

It all seems a long way from the first dotcom bubble – things are on a much surer footing. But how long will this immunity to current economic shocks last? Have your say in the survey every month, so we can track how opinions change, or in the comments below.

The first Digital Pulse provides an initial benchmark and analysis of confidence across the digital industry. As the data grows, subsequent surveys will allow more detailed analysis of trends within the industry.

You can take part in May's survey (just 6 questions) here: Digital Pulse Survey

March 2008: Survey Results

March 2008: In-depth Quarterly Analysis


The Digital Industry

We're holding the potential of an economic downturn in a fairly positive light. As the overheads are far less to set up say a shop online than on the highstreet, together with the percentage of total consumer spend at the highest online that it's ever been. Wouldn't you take the route of online over highstreet? There will always be start-ups, even in a recession, and where other industrys suffer I beleive that the digital industry could possibly thrive. In terms of Online Publishing, I also don't believe this is linked to any potential recession but more to do with access to more information online. Online publishers need to seriously consider revenue generation through subscription channels and high quality content or targeted advertising, rather than blame a general downturn. The solutions are there if they can shift to meet the market.