Cautious Optimism: One in Three HR Managers Say Their Company Will Hire in Third-Quarter 2010

Jul 23, 2010

Cautious Optimism: One in Three HR Managers Say Their Company Will Hire in Third-Quarter 2010

Alexandria, Va. – The third-quarter 2010 hiring outlook is subdued but improved compared to this time last year, say HR managers surveyed in the SHRM Labor Market Outlook (LMO), a quarterly report published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Though widespread hiring is not expected, more HR professionals report optimism than pessimism. Fifty percent of respondents are somewhat optimistic about job growth and seven percent are very optimistic. The numbers mark a sharp increase from the third quarter of 2009 when a combined 37 percent of respondents expressed some level of optimism.

Roughly 31 percent of HR managers surveyed expect their companies to hire in the third quarter of 2010, up from 21 percent who said so one year ago. A majority (52 percent) will maintain staffing levels while eight percent cite plans to cut jobs. Nine percent were unsure at the time the survey was fielded.

“The third quarter of 2010 is looking much better than the same time one year ago but it’s relative — one year ago marked a very dismal hiring environment,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM.

What size companies will hire?

When examined by size, HR professionals in small organizations (36 percent) said they were likely to increase staff during the third quarter, closely followed by medium-size groups (35 percent), and large organizations (30 percent).

The biggest trend continues to be maintaining staff levels, with 58 percent of HR professionals in small organizations reporting such plans for the third quarter followed by 57 percent in medium-size organizations, and 55 percent in small ones.

The SHRM LMO defines small organizations as those with fewer than 100 employees and medium-sized organizations as employing 100 to 499 employees.Large organizations are those with more than 500 workers.

Will your sector be hiring?

A look at third-quarter SHRM LMO data by organizational sector shows that nonprofit organizations (42 percent) plan to conduct the most hiring followed by publicly owned for-profit companies (35 percent). Closely following in those sectors expected to hire are privately owned for-profit organizations (34 percent). The government plans the least hiring (22 percent) among those sectors surveyed.

Hiring will remain largely flat with 58 percent of publicly owned as well as privately owned for-profit organizations reporting plans to maintain staff current staff levels. In the government, the number is higher with 64 percent of respondents reporting no changes in staffing levels. Among HR professionals responding for nonprofit organizations, 48 percent will maintain staff levels.

Are there regional hiring trends?

Regionally, optimism among HR professionals varied slightly. While 12 percent of respondents in the Southeast reported being very optimistic about third-quarter 2010 hiring, only seven percent in the Midwest reported such. Five percent from the West reported the same as did four percent in the Northeast.

Many HR managers are at least somewhat optimistic with 51 percent in the Northeast reporting such closely followed by 50 percent in the Midwest, 49 percent in the West, and 46 percent in the Southeast.

Will you be laid off?

During the third quarter of 2010, only eight percent of HR professionals say their organizations will decrease staff — managers and professionals (55 percent) will be those most affected by layoffs while senior executives (four percent) will be the least laid off group. In between the two groups are: hourly service workers (29 percent); contract/temporary employees (24 percent); laborers/unskilled manual workers (20 percent); and skilled manual workers (14 percent).

The SHRM Labor Market Outlook launched in January 2009. The SHRM LMO examines hiring and recruiting trends based on a quarterly survey of more than 400 HR professionals managing company staffing issues from a broad range of public and private entities.Visit:


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


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