Semper International, the leading placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, reports a significant jump in the percentage of companies reporting hiring and, for the first time in the twelve years Semper has conducted the survey, no reports of reduction of staff.
Since February 2003, Semper International has provided a quarterly survey offering estimates of trends in the printing and graphics industries. To prevent bias, survey questions—both qualitative and quantitative—are designed by Semper corporate partner Cvent. Survey participants include more than 300 small, medium, and large printing companies; both clients and prospects of Semper International. Participants provide data on revenue and hiring as well as estimated outlooks on future trends. Data is requested from a random sample and are not screened. To preserve confidentiality, individual company information is not part of the tabulation.
“We’re pleased to see respondents reporting another rise in quarterly revenues as well as continued optimism. Overall, the print industry looks pretty positive right now,” says CEO David Regan. “Companies reporting revenue growth increased a stunning twenty percentage points, quarter over quarter, and those reporting a profitable quarter is the strongest it’s been since the second quarter of 2006. However, a few worrisome signals are on the horizon. September is usually the busiest month of the year, but our questions on recent sales projections showed that many companies have adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Most are expecting the same sales volume this quarter versus further growth.”
The survey offers fourteen critical insights that Semper observed from the survey data. They include:
- Those who reported increased quarterly revenues rose to 55% while respondents reporting a decrease in quarter over quarter revenue growth fell 8 points to 6%.
- 64% of companies expect strong sales growth to continue.
- 86% of companies reported profits.
- The number of respondents who saw an increase in sales the two weeks before the survey was conducted increased 15 points to 47%.
- Costs to upgrade technology (29%), emerging technology (28%) and operating costs (13%) outweigh the general economic climate (8%) as competitive threats.
- The rate of those companies considering business diversification is up 5 points to 57%.
- Leading market diversification categories were direct mail (24%), wide-format (20%) and web-based media (25%), for the third straight quarter
- 28% of all firms considered overtime costs a labor cost concern, an increase of 50% from last quarter.
- Staffing limitations (37%) replace profitability as respondents’ core concern.