Mid-Year Hiring Forecast Shows Positive Job Growth the Rest of 2011

Editor’s Note: See update below with CareerBuilder Canada survey information.

I’ll take good news whenever and where ever I find it.

That’s how I view CareerBuilder’s 2011 Mid-Year Job Forecast — as reasonably good news that seems to indicate that hiring (and the economy) may get a little bit better as we head through the last half of 2011.

According to the survey, “employers remain positive in their hiring expectations for the remainder of 2011 despite ongoing concerns over threats to economic growth,” and  nearly half of employers (47 percent) plan to hire new employees from July through December, up from 41 percent in 2010.

35% say they will hire full-time workers

Digging into the numbers a little deeper, the number of companies specifically hiring for full-time, permanent staff rose 7 percentage points over last year, including:

  • Some 35 percent of companies said they were hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 28 percent in 2010;
  • Another 15 percent are hiring part-time employees, the same as in 2010; and,
  • Some 12 percent are hiring contract or temporary employees (contingent workers), up from 9 percent in 2010

The CareerBuilder survey (and you can find a great infographic version of it here), which was conducted by Harris Interactive from May 19 to June 8, 2011, included more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals.

The survey also showed that hiring of full-time, permanent employees in Q2 (the three months that just ended on June 30), rose to 29 percent in 2011, up from 24 percent in Q2 of 2010, and from 28 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Some 11 percent of organizations decreased headcount in Q2 while 59 percent made no change in staff levels and 1 percent were unsure (note to self: what does it say about  an organization if they are unsure of whether or not they gained or lost employees in a specific quarter?).

One more thing that jumped out at me in this survey, given all the talk around whether or not employees will leave organizations as the economy improves: they are absolutely doing that, as measured by the CareerBuilder 2011 Mid-Year Job Forecast.

Some 18 percent of organizations say that top workers left them in the second quarter of 2011, up from 14 percent in the first quarter of the year. That’s not a whopping number by any means, but the increase in departures in Q2 over Q1 has to cause a little concern — and it has.

According to the survey “more than one-third (35 percent) of employers are concerned that key talent will leave their organizations as the economy improves, a trend that became increasingly evident over the last six months.”

Top areas for hiring

The survey also broke out the top functional areas which businesses plan to hire first for first. They are:

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  1. Customer Service – 23 percent;
  2. Information Technology – 21 percent;
  3. Sales – 20 percent;
  4. Administrative – 15 percent;
  5. Business Development – 11 percent;
  6. Accounting/Finance – 10 percent; and,
  7. Marketing – 9 percent.

“Last year, certain sectors or departments in companies were producing jobs,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder , in a press release about the survey. “This year, the U.S. is seeing job creation in all industries, functions and company sizes.”

He added this: “Our survey, listings on CareerBuilder.com, and conversations we have with employers on a daily basis all indicate that hiring activity will sustain and improve in the months to come with a diverse mix of jobs. While higher energy prices, debt, inflation and other factors may deter a significant acceleration in hiring, employers have encouraging news for the millions of Americans who are looking for jobs.”

Any survey that shows an increase in hiring activity is welcome news, and although CareerBuilder’s 2011 Mid-Year Job Forecast shows what could be charitably described as a modest increase, it’s always a positive when the trends are heading the right way.

This is only one survey, on one day, showing a snapshot in time. It’s a positive sign, but still not enough to say that the economic recovery is getting its second wind.

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UPDATE: CareerBuilder’s Canadian job survey for the second half of 2011 makes one thing clear: They’re doing a lot more hiring north of the border than they are in the USA.

“CareerBuilder.ca’s latest job forecast shows that six-in-ten (61 per cent) employers plan to hire new employees between July and December, up from 58 per cent in 2010,” according to a press release on the findings. And, “Six-in-ten hiring managers report a shortage of skills within their organization. The area which had the greatest shortage of skilled workers was within IT skills, second was communication skills and rounding out the top three was customer service.”

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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