2013 Staffing Levels Expected to Meet, Exceed 2012 Levels


By SHRM Online staff February 22, 2013
Eighty percent of major U.S. employers surveyed expect that their 2013 rate of hiring will meet or exceed that of 2012, according to a hiring trends study released Feb. 14, 2013, by technology staffing firm Yoh. Of companies that plan to accelerate hiring in 2013, 83 percent expect to increase staffing levels by at least 3 percent.

The survey, administered by Amplitude Research Inc. Jan. 11-14, 2013, examined the hiring practices and expectations of 150 human resource 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.

Yoh’s 2013 Workforce Trends Study reveals that demand for talent exists at nearly every level of these organizations, particularly in information technology, sales, and operations and production.

Lingering concerns over a variety of economic and political headwinds are dampening hiring plans for some companies, however. Forty-four percent of the respondents reported they are not expecting to increase hiring in 2013; 40 percent report that current staffing levels already meet or exceed their needs.

Forty-five percent of respondents noted that the recent and ongoing political climate, including continuing fiscal policy negotiations, will slow or freeze their hiring plans for 2013. In addition, 27 percent of responding companies said that they expect the implementation of the health care reform law to suppress hiring in 2013; 16 percent said they cannot guess what impact the law will have on hiring, suggesting further uncertainty in 2013.

“The optimism evident in our [study] is tempered by persistent economic uncertainty and operational efficiency that has reduced demand for workers,” said Yoh President Lori Schultz in a statement about the findings. “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. Now more than ever, systematic workforce planning is crucial to quickly sourcing, recruiting and hiring top performers.”

Companies also are struggling to source top talent, the survey shows. The vast majority—81 percent—of organizations surveyed report that quality (that is, 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.

As a result, two-thirds of respondents said they expect to use temporary employees or contract workers in 2013, with 75 percent of companies reporting that they expect to maintain or increase their use of contract labor.

Companies also reported that they struggle with workforce planning. Despite many companies’ intentions to expand hiring in 2013, only 13 percent have a workforce plan with defined contingencies. Without proactively addressing the impact of events that could significantly affect workforce planning, the majority of companies jeopardize the success of their recruiting, notes the report.

Compounding the lack of contingency plans, 67 percent of respondents said their companies have delayed workforce plan reconciliation for a quarter or longer. This figure includes 17 percent who don’t re-evaluate staffing needs at regular intervals or only do so when changes in demand become clearly evident.

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. Interestingly, many of the organizations responding also reported that they limit social media recruiting to candidate searches or job posting broadcasts.

Half of respondents said they use social media to broadcast open positions and 42 percent use these channels to perform simple candidate searches. But only 31 percent said they use social media as a key component of their employment brand and recruitment strategy. Nearly 25 percent of respondents said they do not use social media in their recruiting practices at all.

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