Recruiting Difficulty Reaches Four-Year High in February, SHRM LINE Report Shows

More than 2 out of 5 manufacturers and service-sector companies will add jobs in March

Mar 5, 2015

Recruiting difficulty for key positions hit a four-year high in February, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) Leading Indicators of National Employment® (LINE) Report.

February was the 10th consecutive month recruiting difficulty reached a four-year high. Survey results from this month show that a net of 26 percent of manufacturing and 13.7 percent of service-sector respondents had difficulty recruiting for key positions, which notably represents an 18.8-point increase in manufacturing and a 3.4-point increase in the service sector when compared to February 2014.

“Human resource professionals in both sectors continue to report that recruiting candidates for key jobs is getting harder,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workforce trends at SHRM. “For the 12th straight month, there was a year-over-year increase in recruiting difficulty for both manufacturing and service-sector firms.”

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.

In March, for the 12th straight month, the manufacturing hiring rate will increase compared to a year ago. The service-sector hiring rate also will rise slightly when compared to the previous year. Two out of five manufacturers (44.5 percent) and service-sector companies (44 percent) will add jobs during the month.

More employers also reported raising pay for new hires in February—a net of 12 percent in manufacturing and a net of 18 percent in the service sector, resulting in 5.3-point and 8-point increases, respectively, when compared to a year ago.

“Pay rate increases are another sign of a healthier labor market,” Schramm explained. “Recruiting difficulty may be encouraging companies to increase the compensation packages they are offering to new hires.”

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
Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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