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Hiring Outlook Is the Strongest in Three Years, According to Survey

Looks like someone’s been taking her Boniva! (Or whatever its employment industry equivalent is, at least…)

According to CareerBuilder and USA TODAY’s latest job forecast, the employment outlook is starting to feel like its younger, more vibrant self again.

Nearly three-in-ten employers (28 percent) reported they hired full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of 2011, the highest since the first quarter of 2008, according to the survey of nearly 2,800 hiring managers nationwide. The same amount expect to add full-time positions in the second quarter as well.

The findings come as little surprise to CareerBuilder’s CEO, Matt Ferguson, who says in a press release that job listings on CareerBuilder.com have increased across all categeories – from healthcare and technology to manufacturing. “While employers are keeping a close eye on world events, their confidence levels in regard to recruitment have remained intact,” Ferguson said. “The survey points to continued, measured gains over the next three months.  As the nation moves toward greater financial stability, more employers are investing in talent for the long-term.”

So what’s in store for the job market in the coming months – and how does it compare to previous months? Check out the highlights from the latest survey, including insight into what concerns both employers and job seekers right now. (You can also go here to download the complete forecast.)

  • Added Headcount Exceeds Expectations in Q1 2011: For the seventh consecutive quarter, hiring has exceeded expectations. When asked back in December, 23 percent of employers said they expected to hire full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of 2011. As for March, however, the number of employers that actually added headcount reached 28 percent.  And while 10 percent of employers decreased headcount in the first quarter 2011, the number is still an improvement from 12 percent who did so last year.
  • Employers Expect to Maintain Momentum in Q2 2011: As for second quarter expectations, 28 percent of employers said they plan to increase their full-time, permanent headcount (but if current survey trends persist, that number could very well be higher in three months).  The number already exceeds the 24 percent of employers who increased headcount during this time last year.
  • Competition for Highly Skilled Talent Increases: Concerned about losing high performers as the economy improves? You should be. Nearly a third of of the 5,600 workers surveyed said they are likely to start looking for another job as the economy improves.  Some have already made good on their word, too, with 14 percent of employers saying they already lost some of the best employees this last quarter.
  • Temporary Hiring Will Slow Ever So Slightly: At 29 percent, the number of employers who added temporary staff is nearly the same as those who added permanent employees. Slightly fewer employers (26 percent), however, plan to do the same this quarter, and 17 percent plan to take some of their contract or temporary employees on full-time in the second quarter.
  • The Best Hiring in the West: Looking at regions, hiring in the West is strongest, with 33 percent of hiring managers in this area expecting to increase full-time, permanent headcount. They’re followed by 28 percent who say the same in the Northeast, 27 percent in the Midwest and 24 percent in the South.
  • Hiring Shows Improvement Across Businesses of All Sizes: Hiring among small businesses – the major driver behind new job creation in the U.S. – is showing signs of improvement.  Increasing by 4 percent from last quarter, 23 percent of companies with 500 or fewer employees plan to recruit full-time, permanent employees in the second quarter; and 17 percent of companies with 50 or fewer employees said the same, (up from 14 percent last quarter). Hiring in larger organizations is also trending positive, with 36 percent of companies with more than 500 employees planning to add full-time, permanent staff in the second quarter, up from 30 percent last quarter.
  • Downsizing Will Go Down a Size (or Two): The survey also indicates that the number of employers planning to reduce staff levels decreased by 2 percent across the board: Among companies with 500 or fewer employees fewer employers, only 5 percent say they plan to decrease full-time, permanent staff.  Four percent of employers with 50 or fewer employees and 7 percent of companies with more than 500 employees said the same.
  • Salary Levels to Stay Relatively Level: In disappointing news for workers, nearly 40 percent of employers do not plan to increase salary levels, and 38 percent plan an increase of only 3 percent or less. Fifteen percent expect their average changes will be between 4 and 10 percent and 2 percent predict an increase of 11 percent or more.  Another 3 percent say they will decrease salaries.

Do any of these findings surprise you? Where does your company fall among those surveyed?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
4 comments
B. Stark
B. Stark

I have been contemplating a possible job change, and was doing some surfing and discovered your blog post. Quality information, wonderful post, thanks a lot!

B. Stark
B. Stark

I have been contemplating a possible job change, and was doing some surfing and discovered your blog post. Quality information, wonderful post, thanks a lot!

Suzanne McInerney
Suzanne McInerney

Excellent information Leah! Better yet, it is very positive!

Suzanne McInerney
Suzanne McInerney

Excellent information Leah! Better yet, it is very positive!

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