It's not exactly news that Madison Avenue isn't what it once was. Gone are the days of three-martini lunches and massive advertising contracts that foot the bill for the world's largest firms. Today, we live in a world of programmatic digital advertising, in-house creative teams that circumvent agencies, and big players like Facebook ($FB) and Google ($GOOG) who are quickly gobbling up all the inventory.

So how is this all affecting the world's largest advertising companies? It is putting them in a tailspin of re-strategy, a new focus on technology, and, for our purposes here, a massive slowdown in hiring.

That is the case for Publicis Groupe ($EPA:PUB), the world's third-largest advertising and marketing firm. It consists of big media players like Sapient, Razorfish, Saatchi & Saatchi, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and more. It's considered part of the "Big Four" along with WPP, Interpublic, and Omnicom.

And yet, it has put the brakes on hiring across almost all of its divisions.

To be clear, Publicis has kept up with the times, having developed Vivaki, a targeting platform that has seen business from big players like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo!. That said, it appears the when it comes to hiring for some of its more traditional business units, Publicis is slowing down when it comes to human capital.

There's good news for analysts, however: Of the 231 openings from October 9, 2018, 22 openings contained the word "Data", with "Data Analysis" being a popular term. Jobs like "Associate Director, Data and Analysis" at Digitas show a growing team of data scientists who are busy fine tuning the agency's programmatic capabilities.

Interestingly, only 5 positions contain the word "Social." For years, Social Media strategists were in high demand at growing agencies. However, that demand has cooled a bit, at least at Publicis.

Account Directors and managers continue to be in high demand, with 22 such positions across most of Publicis' brands. And shockingly, of all the open positions, only 6 contain the keyword "Creative". So much for thinking outside the box.

The advertising industry is infamously volatile: companies come, go, and get acquired just as quickly as their contracts. But as brands continue to build in-house teams and as advertising inventory increasingly moves to fewer and fewer powerful players, advertising firms could end up the odd men out, and the early signs of that could well be found in hiring data.

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