IPC jobs freeze sends chills through magazine sector

Magazine publishers claim the jobs market remains ‘buoyant’despite IPC Media’s announcement last week that it has imposed a three-month recruitment freeze as a result of the economic climate.

After IPC Media imposed the temporary freeze on 16 June, Bauer Consumer Media and Condé Nast said they were making no changes and a spokesperson for Hachette Filipacchi said its situation was ‘buoyant – we have a lot of recruitment going on”.

Future Publishing said it had about 30 vacancies, which it is looking to fill both externally and internally. But a spokeswoman said the financial climate had made an impact. ‘We have recently seen a slight reduction in staff turnover,’she said.

IPC is owned by Time Inc, the publishing division of the world’s largest media organisation Time Warner.

In its financial report for the first quarter of 2008, Time Warner reported that revenues for Time Inc (which includes IPC along with other overseas titles) were flat compared to the same quarter in 2007. The company closed two American titles last year.

Peter Kirwan, editor of Fullrun, said that IPC’s recruitment freeze probably reflected the fact that when American companies are squeezed financially, their subsidiaries can expect to feel the impact.

‘If you’re owned by a US company, and it’s quite a difficult time for the headquarters of the US company, the subsidiaries are bound to be squeezed – even more than a native publisher such as Future,’he said.

Alan Brydon, head of press at media buyer MPG said recruitment freezes and/or job cuts were inevitable in the industry if the marketplace gets any worse.

‘Despite it being a short-term measure – and one which only leads to the need to recruit when things get better – this is what happens,’he said. ‘Companies which are PLCs have to be seen to be doing it, and even non-PLCs all have lords and masters who set targets, and bonus schemes against those targets. So to take less revenue without a cut in costs is not realistic.”

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