Survey: Improved Hiring Picture Expected in Second Half of 2012

Chicago — July 5

While the jobs recovery continues to lag that of previous recessions, the outlook for the back half of 2012 shows continued improvement over 2011, according to a recent survey.

Forty-four percent of private sector employers reported they are planning to hire full-time, permanent staff from July 1 through Dec. 31, an increase of nine percentage points over the same period last year, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder.

In last year’s CareerBuilder forecast, the number of companies planning to hire full-time, permanent employees (35 percent) increased seven percentage points over 2010.

The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive from May 14 to June 4, included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

Employers plan to add a mix of new employees over the next six months, with each category trending up from last year, according to the survey.

• Companies hiring full-time, permanent employees: 44 percent, up from 35 percent in 2011.
• Companies hiring part-time employees: 21 percent, up from 15 percent in 2011.
• Companies hiring contract or temporary employees: 21 percent, up from 12 percent in 2011.

Hiring among small businesses is also gradually gaining ground, the survey said. However, companies with 50 or fewer employees continue to be more cautious than other segments and reported little change in recruitment plans from last year.

• 50 or fewer employees: 21 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 20 percent in 2011.
• 250 or fewer employees: 31 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 26 percent in 2011.
• 500 or fewer employees: 34 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 27 percent in 2011.

Job creation is also picking up in both big cities and outlying towns, according to the survey. Of employers who are hiring, 75 percent said they will be recruiting for positions in large metropolitan areas, while 39 percent will be hiring in non-metropolitan rural areas.

Comparing regions, the western portion of the United States is the most optimistic in terms of hiring plans for July through December and reported the highest year-over-year increase for adding full-time, permanent staff.

• West: 47 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 35 percent in 2011.
• South: 45 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 38 percent in 2011.
• Northeast: 44 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 34 percent in 2011.
• Midwest: 40 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 32 percent in 2011.

The top functional areas for which businesses plan to hire first are those directly impacting revenue and innovation. Customer service remains in the No. 1 spot for recruitment with information technology and sales rounding out the top three.

More employers are also reporting that their organizations have created entirely new job functions within their organizations to respond to evolving business demands. When asked if their organizations currently have positions that didn’t exist in their firms five years ago, employers pointed to the following:

• Positions tied to social media: 16 percent.
• Positions tied to storing and managing data: 15 percent.
• Positions tied to cyber security: 12 percent.
• Positions tied to financial regulation: 10 percent.
• Positions tied to promoting diversity inside and outside the organization: 9 percent.
• Positions tied to green energy and the environment: 8 percent.
• Positions tied to global relations: 8 percent.

Looking ahead, 30 percent of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent employees in the third quarter, up from 26 percent last year, according to the survey. Given that employers historically have been more conservative in estimates than actual hiring activity, the number may come in higher at quarter end.

Source: Career Builder Inc.