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Survey: Sourcers Switch More than Creatives

Designers and Developers Polled

Home textiles product designers, developers, and sourcing employees are well-situated within the home textiles industry, forming a relatively stable and experienced workforce — although those in product sourcing have changed jobs more recently.

This is a key finding of the 2007 Home Textiles Salary Guide provided exclusively to HTT by home textiles executive search firm Westover & Associates.

On average, the years of industry experience among product personnel ranges from 8.2 years for designers and stylists, to 13.6 years for creative directors and design managers, the survey reveals.

While these figures are not as high as the average experience levels of sales executives and sales managers, they do indicate a marked degree of competence and confidence.

As for satisfaction on the part of employees and employers, the average number of years spent at one's current employer by design specialists is roughly equivalent to their peers on the sales side. Designer/stylists surveyed have been at their current employer an average of 3.8 years, compared to the average 5.3 years by creative directors/design managers.

Sourcing and product development types have the lowest average current posting: 2.8 years. This reflects the significant degree of churn among old and new companies vying for advantage on the product sourcing front.

Year-to-year trend data for the design-development-sourcing group are not available, said Catherine Westover, president of the firm, as previous surveys have specifically covered only the sales segment of the industry.

Westover did say that overall, 2007 has started as a continuation of a very active 2006. Analyzing long-term activity levels, she noted that the industry tends to hesitate in hiring only during "periods of uncertainty." She pointed to two crucial moments that were her company's "quietest times," namely the six months following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the six months prior to the termination of major textiles import quotas by the United States.

"I don't see a change in what our customers are requiring, but I do a see quite a difference in how educated our industry has become. Ten years ago, there were not as many people with bachelor's degrees on either side as there are today."

In the May 7 issue, HTT published selected results of the 2007 Home Textiles Salary Guide concerning the salary scene for sales executives and sales managers in the industry. Full results of the survey are available at westoverinc.com.

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