Good Hiring News in Quarterly Trendsetter Report

By SHRM Online staff May 16, 2014

Hiring continues to be a priority for CEOs and CFOs, with two-thirds of 214 queried C-suite executives planning to add new employees within the next 12 months, according to findings released April 29, 2014.

It appears that companies will be recruiting “cautiously and opportunistically and that they expect worker productivity to keep increasing, with revenue rising far faster than wages,” PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) U.S. points out in its latest Trendsetter Barometer.

Each quarter, PwC’s private company Trendsetter Barometer reflects the business issues and best practices of America’s leading privately held U.S. businesses. The latest data was collected by phone Jan. 9-April 4, 2014,by independent research firm BSI Global Research Inc. Respondents were from 123 companies in the product sector and 91 companies in the service sector, and on average have revenue/sales of $368 million. About half of the companies sell internationally.

Technology and blue-collar workers—including semiskilled/unskilled workers and those with specialized skills—and sales and marketing professionals are in especially high demand, the survey found. Sales and marketing professionals “are critical to driving growth and new business for companies in expansion mode,” which is the case for many of the companies surveyed, according to the news release.

However, employers expect to increase their composite workforce by an average of just 2 percent in 2014. Hourly wages will increase only 2.7 percent, “slightly lower than [employers’] wage estimates in 2013,” according to the report.

Ken Esch, a partner in PwC’s Private Company Services practice, called it “encouraging” that the percentage of companies looking to hire is at its highest level since 2011. But, he added in a news release, “Until significant numbers of people are added to the workforce, we can expect progress and growth to remain measured.”

In the report he noted that the hiring estimates reflect a larger trend in the U.S. economy, pointing out that “increased productivity driven by IT investments holds down employment growth.”

Other report highlights:

  • Three-fifths are optimistic about the U.S. economy’s 12-month outlook, the highest number since early 2011.
  • Plans to hire are at the highest level in three quarters—up 6 percentage points—and 11 points higher than a year ago.
  • Nearly three-fourths of private companies surveyed that sell in China plan to hire in the next 12 months.
  • A higher percentage of companies selling abroad are intent on hiring, compared to those selling only domestically—65 percent vs. 58 percent, respectively.
  • More than one-fourth (28 percent) of respondents said the lack of qualified workers was an impediment to their companies’ growth.
  • 52 percent of companies plan some sort of business initiative—acquisitions, strategic alliances and new joint ventures—in 2014, up 10 percentage points from 2013.

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