Employers Expect to Increase Hiring in 2016

By Roy Maurer Dec 22, 2015
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A slew of recently released surveys forecast strong hiring in the first half of 2016.

A survey of 598 hiring managers and recruiters conducted by job board operator DHI Group Inc. found that 61 percent are planning to do more hiring in the first half of 2016, as compared to the second half of 2015. Nearly one-fifth (17 percent) of companies surveyed plan to hire at least 30 percent more professionals in the first six months of 2016, up five percentage points as compared to when asked in early 2015.

According to technology job board Dice’s latest hiring survey, 71 percent of companies are looking to bolster their technology teams by 11 percent or more in the first six months of 2016. Just over three-fourths (78 percent) of 397 hiring managers anticipate adding technology professionals in the first half of 2016, compared to the second half of 2015.

According to ManpowerGroup’s first employment outlook survey for 2016, U.S. employers reported the strongest first-quarter hiring plans since 2007. The survey of over 11,000 U.S. employers found that one-fifth plan to increase staff in the first quarter, 6 percent plan to decrease staff and the majority expect no change. That results in a net employment outlook of 17 percent, holding steady with Manpower’s fourth-quarter 2015 employment outlook.

“We’ve seen strong jobs growth in the U.S. throughout 2015, along with declining unemployment and increasing wages, which brings a continued optimism for the start of 2016,” said ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising. “We expect these broad trends to continue going into 2016, despite ongoing challenges in certain sectors like energy and manufacturing, as well as in export-driven industries. As the unemployment rate comes down and the labor market continues to tighten, employers will increasingly feel the impact of rising wages and the ongoing skills mismatch.”

Employers in Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan indicated the strongest net employment outlooks, while Alaska, Illinois, New Jersey and Wyoming projected the weakest outlooks.

Employers in all industry sectors reported a net positive outlook, with the highest forecast coming from leisure and hospitality (30 percent), transportation and utilities (23 percent), wholesale and retail trade (22 percent), and professional and business services (18 percent).

Mining had the lowest net employment outlook at just 1 percent.

The strongest job prospects are expected in Cape Coral, Fla.; Washington, D.C.; Honolulu; Dallas; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Provo-Orem, Utah.

The weakest outlooks are projected in Hartford, Conn.; Chicago; Kansas City, Mo.; Worcester, Mass.; and Tulsa, Okla., according to Manpower.

Recruiting Difficulty

The recruiting environment for certain highly skilled professionals is “the toughest I’ve seen in nearly a decade,” said DHI President and CEO Michael Durney. Almost half of respondents (45 percent) to the DHI survey said that the time to fill open positions has lengthened since 2014. The primary reason cited is the inability to find qualified professionals (53 percent), followed by hiring managers saying they’re waiting for the perfect match (29 percent).

Nearly half (49 percent) of hiring managers responding to the Dice survey said the time to fill open tech positions has also lengthened since last year. “The environment for a talent crisis in tech has been growing over the past few years and as the level of interest in technology professionals rises, it doesn’t appear the challenging recruitment market will lighten any time soon,” said Bob Melk, president of Dice.

More than a third (37 percent) of respondents to the DHI survey reported seeing more candidates receiving counteroffers from their current employers. About half (47 percent) said positions are going unfilled due to unmet salary requirements. In response, a majority of hiring managers (56 percent) foresee higher salaries for new hires in 2016.

“In addition to bulking up budgets to pay desired candidates, companies have to consider ongoing sourcing and identifying professionals ahead of the creation of a specific job opening,” Durney said. “Recruitment has to be more about relationship building today than ever before.”

Positive Global Forecast

Employer hiring confidence is also forecast to be strong globally. Of the nearly 59,000 employers interviewed across the globe by Manpower, organizations anticipate increasing staffing levels in 39 out of 42 countries and territories, compared with 36 of 42 in the last quarter of 2015. Manpower found the five strongest staffing projections in India, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States. The only negative forecasts were reported in Brazil, Finland and France.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMRoy

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