74 Percent of Printing Company Respondents Report Profitable First Quarter, Semper Survey Reveals
BOSTON—May 13, 2014—Semper International, the leading placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, announces bright spots in profits and positive revenue growth in spite of the impact of bad weather and continued economic malaise.
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.
Semper revamped its survey report this quarter creating a more stylized report and offering more in-depth analysis. "Over 10 years ago, Semper recognized that our experience in staffing allowed us to see economic trends affecting the allied industries we serve. Staffing tends to be a leading economic indicator and in our 20+ years of watching this economic cycle, we have come to understand the labor market a bit,” explained David Regan, CEO, Semper International. “While our clients’ privacy is always a paramount concern, we believe using the aggregate survey data to help analyze common themes to be beneficial.”
Regan also added: “When we first launched the survey, our goal was to continue in that vein, aggregating this information to the industry as a public service for free. Over the years, as the survey has become more popular, and we have watched the industry itself change, we have refined and improved our questions and processes while still providing the service gratis. This year, based on survey feedback, we have decided to take it a step further, by aggregating the data into an executive summary with key insights we pulled from this data, and advanced our design and presentation to welcome our increasingly graphic digital audience.”
The new survey offers 12 insights that Semper saw in the survey data. Insights include that current revenues remain relatively low, although firms are beginning to report positive revenue growth; despite a hiccup, firms remain bullish on sales growth; and while still troubling, the overall economy is marginalizing as a threat.
More specifically, the most recent survey indicates positive outlook and improved sales:
- 74 percent of companies surveyed reported a profitable Q1; the third quarter in a row that more than 70 percent of firms saw profits rise. Looking at the various profit centers over time, it’s clear that, while dispersed, firms are finding the greatest margins in digital—via either content prep, reproduction or distribution.
- 40 percent of survey respondents reported an increase in revenue over last quarter—a 5 percent increase and the first quarter over quarter increase in a year.
- 64 percent of companies expect sales to increase through the remainder of Q2, compared to 48 percent last quarter—an indication that companies are more optimistic and anticipating sustained sales volumes through the month of May, and beyond.
- Emerging from the trend lines is also an indication that the economy (42 percent) is becoming less of a threat than it was during the deep end of the recession. In fact, for the second quarter in a row, more than half of our reporting firms cited something other than the economy as their top concern, as lower priced competitors (24 percent), rising operating costs (13 percent) and technical upgrade expenses (11 percent) are also coming to the fore.
- 29 percent of respondents indicated that hiring levels will increase—a slight drop from last quarter.
- Healthcare remains the fastest growing component of cost, but decreased sharply to 37 percent from 54 percent. Base pay jumped 11 points to 22 percent.
- Referrals continue to be the most popular way to find employees. Use of online ads is increasing.
About Semper International
Semper International is a temporary help placement firm founded and staffed by professionals who were raised and trained in the printing and graphic arts industry, and who understand the innate needs and demands of the profession. Semper has a thorough understanding of all the positions, equipment, and software essential to the business, which assures a perfect employee-employer match.
The Semper team constantly monitors job market trends in the industry. They understood the changes that occurred in job responsibilities when electronic prepress replaced the typesetter and mechanicals, and similarly understands the impact trends such as direct-to-plate and digital print have on staffing. Semper most recently introduced TechCreative professionals whose skills encompass both artistic, design and technical skills to output to any media.
To provide career growth, Semper offers Semper University, an online training program for its employees to help prepare conventional printing professionals for upcoming changes in the industry. Realizing how the Internet is revolutionizing the industry, Semper also works with the most talented Web designers, graphic designers, desktop publishers and production managers.
Semper has offices in Boston (HQ), Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Minneapolis and Wayne, NJ. Direct Hire services for sales and management positions are conducted throughout the country.