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Small Businesses Move Slowly But Surely with Hiring Plans

CareerBuilder’s Small Business Job Forecast points to improved, but cautious hiring in the second half of 2011

In a move that should make John Legend and high school gym teachers everywhere feel validated, small businesses plan to take it slow in the second half of 2011.

When it comes to hiring plans, that is.

According to CareerBuilder’s nationwide survey of more than 1,400 small businesses, while small business hiring in the coming months is expected to be better than 2010, caution continues to steer the pace of job creation post-recession.

In a statement for the press release, CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson discussed why small businesses remain hesitant in their hiring plans:

Right now there is a multi-speed labor market with smaller organizations slower to add new headcount. There was a chill effect on confidence levels coming out of the last recession and small businesses are still waiting to see how the market will unfold before committing to fully expanded staffs. Hiring in this segment will continue with modest gains in the second half of the year.

Following are the major findings from the Small Business 2011 Mid-Year Job Forecast: 

Full-time hiring up from last year: The number of small businesses planning to hire full-time, permanent employees from July through December rose six percentage points over last year, with larger companies hiring at a more accelerated pace.

  • Companies with 50 or fewer employees – 20 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees (up from 14 percent last year).
  • Companies with 500 or fewer employees – 27 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees (up from 21 percent last year).
  • Companies with more than 500 employees – 46 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees (up from 38 percent last year).

Part-time hiring plans remain relatively unchanged: Small businesses expect part-time hiring to be on par with last year. Larger organizations are slightly less likely to hire part-time workers than last year, focusing more on adding full-time staff.

  • 50 or fewer employees – 9 percent hiring part-time employees, same as 2010
  • 500 or fewer employees – 11 percent hiring part-time employees, same as 2010
  • More than 500 employees – 19 percent hiring part-time employees, down from 21 percent in 2010

Contract or temporary hiring up slightly: Companies of all sizes plan to increase their use of contract or temporary support to fill in employment gaps before turning up the dial on permanent placement.

  • 50 or fewer employees – 6 percent hiring contract or temporary employees, up from 4 percent last year
  • 500 or fewer employees – 8 percent hiring contract or temporary employees, up from 6 percent last year
  • More than 500 employees – 16 percent hiring contract or temporary employees, up from 13 percent last year

Customer service is in-demand: Similar to last year’s study, the functional areas for which small businesses plan to hire first are those on the front lines with customers and those driving innovation.

  • Customer Service, Information Technology and Sales remain in the top three spots for recruitment in the second half of 2011 with Administrative and Business Development rounding out the top five.

Burn-out, turnover and competition for talent among major areas of concern: Retaining and recruiting top talent has become a major challenge for small businesses as the economy improves and employers fight worker burnout.

  • 36 percent of small businesses believe their workers are already burned out.
  • 25 percent are worried that workers will leave their organizations as the economy improves
  • 10 percent say that top workers left their organizations in the second quarter
  • 18 percent currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates

For more information – and to see how your business compares – download the full report here.

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.
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