SHRM Report: October 2011 Hiring Weak, Recruiting Tough, Compensation Up

Oct 6, 2011

SHRM Report: October 2011 Hiring Weak, Recruiting Tough, Compensation Up

Alexandria, Va. – Hiring during October 2011 will be at a near standstill compared to a year ago as recruiting difficulty rises and compensation inches up, according to a monthly survey of HR professionals at more than 1,000 companies across the U.S.

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

Manufacturing sector hiring will rise by only 1.1 points on an annual basis. A closer look shows that a net of 30.4 percent of manufacturing companies will hire during October 2011 compared with a net of 29.3 percent that added jobs one year ago.

In the service sector, hiring will decrease on a year-over-year basis by a net of 10.4 points. The survey shows that a net of 29 percent of companies will add jobs during October 2011 compared with a net of 39.4 percent that did so one year ago.

Additionally, the LINE Report shows that HR professionals in companies with job openings report increased recruiting difficulty in filling key positions and slight increases in new-hire compensation. (The LINE Report of month-ahead hiring expectations also includes data on the previous month’s recruiting difficulty and new-hire compensation trends.)

A net of 9.7 percent of HR managers in the manufacturing sector had more difficulty with recruiting in September 2011, a slight increase of 4.9 points from one year ago. In the service sector, a net of 11.6 percent of respondents reported more difficulty in recruiting for key positions during September, marking a 4.6 point increase from one year ago.​

“Even with subdued hiring rates and elevated unemployment, once again we are seeing the recruiting difficulty index rise in both sectors,” said Jennifer Schramm, GPHR, and manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM. “This suggests that employers are having difficulty connecting with jobseekers that possess the skills they are looking for.”

Regarding new-hire compensation trends, the October 2011 report shows that during September 2011 more companies increased rather than decreased new-hire compensation when compared to last year.

In the manufacturing sector, a net total of 8.7 percent of respondents reported increasing new-hire compensation last month. Specifically, 10.7 percent of HR professionals said their organizations increased new-hire compensation in September 2011 while 2 percent decreased it. The survey shows an increase of 6.7 points from one year ago.

New-hire compensation in the service sector also increased. A net total of 7.9 percent of service-sector companies increased new-hire compensation in September 2011 — 8.4 increased and only 0.5 percent decreased new-hire compensation.

“The increase in HR professionals reporting a bump in compensation offered to new hires is small but noteworthy given the weak economy,” said Schramm.

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 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 October, the hiring rate will rise slightly in manufacturing and will drop moderately in services compared with a year ago.

+1.1 points

-10.4 points

Recruiting Difficulty



In September, the index for recruiting difficulty rose slightly in the manufacturing and service sectors compared with a year ago.

+4.9 points

+4.6 points

New-Hire Compensation

The rate of increase for new-hire compensation in September rose in both sectors compared with a year ago.

 +6.7 points

 +2.9 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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