Marketing professionals may find more work opportunities next year as a report from the Creative Group found that 18 percent of marketing and advertising executives are planning to add staff in the first quarter of 2012.

The Creative Group recently reported that 18 percent of marketing and advertising executives plan to expand their full-time staff in the first quarter of 2012, the organization said in its Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals. At the same time, many say they struggle to find creative talent they can bring on full-time

The causes for the expanded hiring plans were not included in the study, but a recovering economy and increased focus on new marketing channels may be the motivation for adding manpower to marketing teams. According to the poll, just 4 percent of companies said they plan to reduce staff, while the overwhelming majority – 76 percent – are reportedly moving forward with no plans to adjust their in-house staff.

Currently, businesses in all sectors are looking for methods to attract new prospects and customers, and many marketers in the poll suggest creative talent is the way to do this; nearly half (45 percent) say it’s a challenge to find skilled creative professionals. The web has offered new marketing channels that businesses are being active in adopting and it’s important to fuel campaigns with top-notch creative. Both content marketing and social media marketing are increasingly popular methods of developing a web presence for businesses.

Brafton reported earlier this year that the growing popularity of content marketing – and its role as a competitive necessity – has not only changed hiring plans, but also the type of talent organizations are looking for. According to the study, 72 percent of businesses looking to make new hires are turning to editorial and creative professionals. At the same time, one-third of marketers say they outsource digital content to professional content writers

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.