CHICAGO, April 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Hiring plans in the U.S. are getting back to pre-recession levels, according to CareerBuilder's latest nationwide survey. One-third of employers added full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of this year, on par with 2007 and the highest increase reported since the recession began. The momentum is expected to continue with 30 percent of employers planning to add new full-time, permanent staff in April through June. The national survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive© from February 9 to March 2, 2012, included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.
"We have moved from an anemic job market to one that is stable and growing," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. "While still cautious, employers are feeling better about the state of the U.S. economy and the debt situation in Europe. Forty-one percent of companies reported their sales have increased over the last six months, which is helping to fuel greater confidence in hiring. The amount of job listings we're seeing for key categories on CareerBuilder.com are similar to that of 2007. All indicators point to steady improvement in the job market in the second quarter and beyond."
The study also showed there is increased competition for talent among employers. Of employers who recruited for positions in the last year, more than half (56 percent) reported that a candidate rejected a job offer from their organization. Forty-one percent of those attributed the rejection to their inability to provide the candidate's desired salary while 22 percent said they didn't offer the position quickly enough and the candidate was already hired somewhere else.
Hiring in Q1 2012
In a previous survey completed in December 2011, 24 percent of employers planned to hire full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of 2012. The number of employers who actually added headcount in the first quarter of 2012 was 33 percent, significantly higher than what was initially expected and up from 28 percent in Q1 2011.
Nine percent decreased headcount in the first quarter 2012, a slight improvement from 10 percent last year. Fifty-seven percent said there was no change in their number of full-time, permanent employees while two percent were undecided.
Hiring in Q2 2012
Looking ahead, 30 percent of employers plan to increase their full-time, permanent headcount in the second quarter, up from 28 percent last year. Given that employers historically have been more conservative in estimates than actual hiring activity, the number may come in higher at quarter end.
Six percent expect to downsize staffs, on par with last year. Fifty-eight percent anticipate no change while 6 percent are undecided.
Employers are increasing their use of temporary labor to help meet increased business demands. Thirty-seven percent of employers reported they hired contract or temporary workers in the first quarter, up from 29 percent last year. Thirty-four percent plan to hire contract or temporary workers in the second quarter, up from 26 percent last year. Nearly one-in-four (24 percent) are planning to transition some contract or temporary staff into permanent employees in the second quarter, up from 17 percent last year.
Hiring By Company Size
Hiring in companies of all sizes is showing signs of improvement. The percentage of employers planning to recruit in the next few months increased by two to three percentage points over last year across segments.
- 50 or fewer employees – 20 percent plan to add full-time, permanent staff in Q2, up from 17 percent last year; those reducing headcount increased slightly to 5 percent in 2012 from 4 percent last year.
- 250 or fewer employees – 22 percent plan to add full-time, permanent staff in Q2, up from 20 percent last year; those reducing headcount remained at 5 percent.
- 500 or fewer employees – 25 percent plan to add full-time, permanent staff in Q2, up from 22 percent last year; those reducing headcount remained at 5 percent.
- More than 500 employees – 38 percent plan to add full-time, permanent staff in Q2, up from 35 percent last year; those reducing headcount remained at 7 percent.
Impact of the Skills Gap
While seeming counterintuitive to a market where 12.8 million people are unemployed, there is still a large number of employers who are struggling to find talent. Thirty-one percent of employers currently have jobs for which they can't find qualified employees, up from 24 percent last year.
"One of the major challenges the U.S. faces is being able to align the skill sets of the labor force with positions that are in high demand," said Ferguson. "There is a growing gap between high-skill job openings and available talent that has a larger impact on overall employment. Fifteen percent of employers reported that, because they can't fill high-skill positions within their organizations, they're not able to create lower-skilled positions that are tied to these roles."
Thirty-one percent of employers anticipate no change in salary levels in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. Forty-two percent expect there will be an increase of 3 percent or less. Seventeen percent expect their average changes will be between 4 and 10 percent and 3 percent predict an increase of 11 percent or more. Three percent anticipate a decrease in salaries.
Totals may not equal 100 percent due to rounding.
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 9 and March 2, 2012 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 2,303, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.04 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 45 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 10,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder's proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com