So there’s really not much new to report since last time. Sales volumes continue to be strong, margins continue to be tight. Supply chain woes continue with sky high material costs, chip shortages, the apparent alien abduction of all of the world’s truck drivers and an endless game of Chinese lockdown Whac-a-mole.
The Toy Industry is looking to hire a lot more people and for the most part is succeeding in doing so. The one real trouble spot I see is Brand Managers and Marketing Communications Managers.
There are really two reasons that I can identify that are exacerbating the problem. First, these people are currently in high demand. Lots of companies are looking for them. That has led to a marketplace where candidates are getting offers from two or three different companies. At the same time, companies have chosen this group to hold the line on salaries. At the start of a Brand Manager search I find myself telling clients that their salaries are too low but companies aren’t budging even though they are willing to raise salaries for other types of jobs. “That’s what we have in our budget.” “Okay, but your budget doesn’t match the marketplace.”
The second major factor is demographics. The people who populate these jobs most often are in their mid-twenties to late thirties. It seems the cultural norm for this group is to be unresponsive. Phone? Email? Text? Smoke Signal? It doesn’t seem to matter. Never before in human history have there been so many ways to communicate and never before are so many people so desperate not to do so. With many people rejecting to even have a yes or no choice about a potentially advantageous career move we end up having smaller pools of candidates. It seems to affect Marketing people the worst. Salespeople don’t do this. Designers of the same age group don’t do this. The very people who are supposed to have the most business savvy seem to be the least savvy about their own personal business and careers. Ah well, end of screed.
Moving forward I think that 2022 will be a pretty good year. Perhaps not as good as 2020 and 2021 but solid and happier as the pandemic hopefully continues to dissipate. Inflation is a major challenge but consumers are continuing to spend. More money is being directed toward necessities, but people are trying to maintain their lifestyles – for now at least. This is causing them to spend down their record high savings and increase their credit card balances. Neither of those things bode well for the future. Add to that an increasing interest rate environment and a Fed which does not have a very good record at engineering soft landings and I see clouds (or is it smoke) on the horizon for 2023. Now is the season to be hoarding your acorns. Winter is coming.
All the best,