Recruiting Difficulty Hits Four-Year High in January, SHRM LINE Report Shows

Manufacturing and service-sector hiring rates to remain steady in February, yet more layoffs will surface in both sectors

Feb 5, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In January, recruiting difficulty for key positions reached a four-year high for both the manufacturing and service sectors, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) Leading Indicators of National Employment® (LINE) Report.

January was the ninth consecutive month recruiting difficulty reached four-year highs. Survey results from this month show that a net of 24.8 percent of manufacturing and 14.4 percent of service-sector respondents had difficulty recruiting for key positions, which notably represents a 17.2-point increase in manufacturing and an 8.4-point increase in the service sector when compared to January 2014.

“We’ve seen a steady trend of increases in recruiting difficulty reported in both sectors,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workforce trends at SHRM. “Last month also marked the 11th straight month for recruiting difficulty increases in those sectors when compared to the same time last year.”

The SHRM LINE Report, based on a survey of human resource professionals, predicts employment activity for the coming month about 30 days before data on employment for the same time frame are available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While steady hiring will continue in both sectors for February, layoffs also are expected to increase in both sectors when compared to the previous year—6.7 percent of manufacturers will conduct job cuts, as will 13.9 percent of service-sector companies. Yet, a net of more than one-half of manufacturers (50.5 percent) and more than one-third of service-sector companies (36.7 percent) will still add jobs in the coming month.

More employers also reported raising pay for new hires in January—15.8 percent in manufacturing and 16.7 percent in the service sector, which equates to 13.5-point and 7.4-point increases, respectively, when compared to a year ago.

The LINE Report provides a snapshot of month-ahead hiring expectations and examines difficulty in recruiting top-level talent, new-hire compensation and job vacancies. Respondents include HR professionals from private service-sector companies and manufacturing companies. Together, these sectors employ more than 90 percent of U.S. private-sector workers.

Media: To read the full SHRM LINE Report, visit Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

The SHRM LINE Report is typically released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on the first Thursday of each month. The SHRM employment expectations index describes the same time period referenced a month later by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation report.

For more information or an interview with a LINE researcher, contact Vanessa Gray of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6072 or

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at Follow us on Twitter at: @SHRMPress

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