SHRM Report: Finding Qualified Job Candidates Is More Difficult Despite Slow Job Growth in May

May 5, 2011

SHRM Report: Finding Qualified Job Candidates Is More Difficult Despite Slow Job Growth in May

Alexandria, Va. – Job growth in the manufacturing and service sectors will expand little during May compared with a year ago, but recruiters are having difficulty recruiting qualified employees, a monthly survey of human resource professionals at more than 1,000 companies shows.

The Society for man Resource Management’s (SHRM) Leading Indicators of National Employment® (LINE®) Report is the only national employment index of HR professionals’ month-ahead hiring expectations.

“Though employment expectations are somewhat muted when compared to the same time last year, the percentages of organizations in both sectors reporting planned reductions in their workforce are very low,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM. “This indicates some stabilization in the labor market but probably not the hiring levels needed to recapture the ground lost during the recession anytime soon.”

The report shows that the manufacturing hiring index will increase by only a net of 0.4 points compared with a year ago, while the service sector will drop by a net of 6.9 points. Despite the slow job growth, the number of organizations in both sectors cutting jobs in May will reach a four-year low.

More than half of manufacturers (50.8 percent) plan to hire in May, while 6.5 percent intend to cut jobs. Hiring remains consistent with one year ago, when 54.5 percent of organizations planned to hire and 10.6 percent planned to cut jobs in May.

Service-sector hiring will drop slightly compared to one year ago, with 50.5 percent of employers intending to hire and 3 percent cutting jobs. In May 2010, 61.8 percent of service-sector organizations planned to hire while 7.4 planned to cut jobs.

Released the first Thursday of each month, the LINE Report provides a snapshot of anticipated hiring for the month ahead and also examines data from the previous month.

The SHRM LINE Report shows that HR professionals in both the manufacturing (a net of 14.5 percent) and service sectors (a net of 1.1 percent) found it more difficult to find qualified job applicants in April.

“For skilled jobseekers, the picture continues to improve. Organizations seeking qualified candidates for their positions of most strategic importance are reporting that it is getting more difficult to fill these vacancies,” said Schramm.

The number of service sector companies that increased new-hire wages and benefits went up in April, by 14.7 points, a vast improvement from one year ago when the percentage of companies reporting an increase in new-hire compensation packages fell 1.3 points. The percentage of manufacturing-sector companies that reported increased new-hire compensation packages in April rose 3.3 points compared with a year ago.

The LINE Employment Report examines four key areas: employers’ hiring expectations, new-hire compensation, difficulty in recruiting top-level talent and job vacancies. The LINE Report is based on a monthly survey of human resource professionals at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 private service-sector companies. Together, these two sectors make up more than 90 percent of America’s private-sector employment.

Highlights of SHRM LINE year-over-year findings:

Employment Expectations



In May, hiring is up slightly in the manufacturing sector and down in the service sector.

+0.4 points

-6.9 points

Recruiting Difficulty

In April, the index for recruiting difficulty rose in both sectors compared with a year ago.

+15.4 points

+7.6 points

New-Hire Compensation

The rate of increase for new-hire compensation in April rose on an annual basis in both manufacturing and services.

+3.3 points

+14.7 points

Source: SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment

To read the SHRM LINE Report, visit: and click the “Latest LINE Report” button. Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: The SHRM LINE Report is 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 approximately one month later in the Employment SituationReport issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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 and follow us on Twitter at


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