Weekly Wrap: Major Employers Expect 2013 Hires to Meet or Exceed Last Year

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I’m having a hard time getting a good fix on the current state of the economy, or to be more specific, the state of the employment market.

Everything you read and hear seems to tilt towards the notion that the economy is gradually getting better; however, everything you feel and experience out in the real world makes you believe that what we may be experiencing is slow, plodding, and very, very gradual improvement — at best.

So, with all of that in mind — and you can pick whatever suits your feelings today — I offer up this survey on 2013 Workforce Trends from Yoh, which touts itself as a company that “delivers long-and short-term temporary and direct placement of technology and professional personnel, as well as managed staffing services, for the information technology, scientific, engineering, health care, telecommunications and industrial communities”

80% expect hiring to meet or exceed 2012

Here’s the main headline from the research: “80 percent of major U.S. employers expect their 2013 hiring will meet or exceed their rate of hiring in 2012. Of companies that plan to accelerate hiring in 2013, 83 percent expect to increase staffing levels by at least 3 percent,” according to a press release on the survey from Yoh.

It adds: “Demand for talent exists at nearly every level of these organizations, but especially in information technology, sales, and operations and production, according to the survey of 150 HR executives and hiring managers at organizations with revenue of $750 million or more.”

OK, here’s my first caveat about this research: The optimism about hiring this year that is reflected in Yoh’s 2013 Workforce Trends comes from larger companies and excludes smaller organizations that are struggling a lot more with the costs of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and increased regulations flowing from not only the federal government but from state and local municipalities as well.

In other words, Yoh’s survey may, at first glance,  paint an overly optimistic picture about 2013 hiring trends because it isn’t capturing the views of HR people and employers with revenues below $750 million. Make of that what you will.

Yoh’s commentary, however, seems to do a lot better job taking that into account.

Tempering the optimistic forecast

“The optimism evident in our 2013 Workforce Trends Study is tempered by persistent economic uncertainty and operational efficiency that has reduced demand for workers,” says Lori Schultz, President of Yoh, in a press release about the 2013 Workforce Trends report (click here for a copy). 

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“In addition, as the workforce grows more complex through, for example, the use of contract labor, a majority of organizations will be left flat-footed since they haven’t adjusted their workforce planning habits to account for this complexity. Organizations must scrutinize their workforce plans and design them to address the lingering economic uncertainty and increased complexity of the workforce. Now more than ever, systematic workforce planning will be crucial to quickly sourcing, recruiting, and hiring top performers.”

The Yoh survey was conducted by Amplitude Research, Inc. between Jan. 11 and Jan. 14, 2013. It “examined the practices and expectations of 150 human resources executives and hiring managers at some of the largest employers in the U.S. All respondents came from U.S. companies with revenues of at least $750 million and workforces of at least 1,500 employees.”

Some expect Obamacare to impede hiring

Here are some other highlights from the survey:

  • Politics could impede hiring plans, even at larger employers. From Yoh: “Some 45 percent of respondents note that the recent and ongoing political climate, including continuing fiscal policy negotiations, will slow or freeze their hiring plans for 2013.”
  • Obamacare could also deter hiring. From Yoh: “Some 27 percent of companies say that they expect the implementation of Obamacare to suppress hiring in 2013. An additional 16 percent say they cannot even begin to guess at Obamacare’s impact on hiring, suggesting further uncertainty heading into 2013.”
  • Companies struggle to source top talent. From Yoh: “The vast majority-81 percent-of organizations surveyed report that quality (i.e., finding top performers) is the most important factor when hiring new employees. Yet 91 percent of respondents have encountered challenges finding and/or recruiting qualified, skilled professionals that fit their talent needs. A quarter of employers have difficulty recruiting candidates once they find them, and 65 percent have trouble even finding such talent.”
  • Workforce complexity grows due to continued use of contract labor. From Yoh: “Two-thirds of the respondents expect to use temporary employees or contract workers in 2013, and 75 percent of companies surveyed expect to maintain or increase their use of contract labor. The widespread use of contract workers raises a number of issues for employers, from the increased complexity of sourcing and recruiting to the tracking and management of these temporary workers.”
  • Many organizations limit social media recruiting to candidate searches or job posting broadcasts. From Yoh: “Many firms are also missing a major opportunity to better engage skilled candidates through social media. Half of respondents use social media to broadcast open positions and 42 percent use these channels to perform simple candidate searches, but only 31 percent use social media as a key component of their employment brand and recruitment strategy. Nearly 25 percent of respondents do not use social media in their recruiting practices at all, an astonishing statistic considering the pervasiveness of social media in all levels of the American culture.”
  • Recruiting remains a challenge. From Yoh: “While 91 percent of respondents admit they face difficulties finding or recruiting candidates, 61 percent of organizations still plan to handle all recruiting processes internally. This confidence doesn’t seem to align with current uncertainty and workforce complexity nor with untapped opportunities to make greater use of social media for recruiting, and contingency workforce planning for quick adaptations if conditions change.”

Want a copy of Yoh’s 2013 Workforce Trends report to see for yourself what all of this means? You can get it here.

How job ads can drive talent away

Of course, there’s a lot more than research on possible 2013 trends in the news this week. Here are some HR and workplace-related items you may have missed. This is TLNT’s weekly round-up of news, trends, and insights from the world of talent management. I do it so you don’t have to.

  • Bad week for SAP. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the State of California fired German tech giant SAP last week from “one of its biggest and most troubled technology projects after deep problems with the system were revealed. The decision to terminate the contract … stalls the costly effort to overhaul an outdated and unstable computer network that issues paychecks and handles medical benefits for 240,000 state employees. The $371-million upgrade, known as the 21st Century Project, has fallen years behind schedule and tripled in cost. (California) has already spent at least $254 million on the project, paying more than $50 million of that to the contractor, SAP Public Services. The company was hired three years ago after the job sputtered in the hands of a previous contractor, BearingPoint.”
  • How job ads can drive away talent. Former HR pro Liz Ryan, who formerly wrote columns for Bloomberg Businessweek, always has sharp opinions about talent management. Her post this week over on the HBR Blog Network is frank and forthright: “The recruiting process is broken, and if we need evidence we only have to look at any job listing. … If we want to hire sharp people in our organizations, we need to market to them. We can’t assume they’ll happily crawl over whatever piles of broken glass we put in front of them (online honesty tests, writing tests, three-week Radio Silence zones, terse auto-responders, and the like) in order to work for us. We have to be willing to woo as well as vet them. And we have to put a human voice into our horribly bureaucratic, robotic job listings.”
  • Rewarding the workforce with an iPad for everyone. Want to know how to reward great work and really build employee loyalty? Do something like LinkedIn did. According to Business Insider, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner “just gave an iPad Mini to every one of LinkedIn’s 3,500 employees. … Weiner didn’t cheap out, either — one employee tells us they got the $429, 32-gigabyte model, not the less-expensive $329 model. At retail prices, that would cost around $1.5 million. LinkedIn just reported a monster quarter where its revenues beat expectations by $25 million. So that’s a pretty nice way to share the windfall with employees.”
  • Here’s why companies worry about employees on social media. Want to know why companies worry about their employees saying things out of school on social media? if you do, just check out this Seattle Times story about what a snarky Washington, D.C.-area barista had to say about his boss and his customers on his (aptly names) Bitter Barista Blog.

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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