HR Optimistic About Hiring Through End of 2015

By Roy Maurer October 1, 2015

Nearly 70 percent of human resource professionals are optimistic about hiring, according to the newest Jobs Outlook Survey (JOS) by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released Sept. 30, 2015.

SHRM’s JOS report examines hiring and recruiting trends across a 12-month spectrum, as well as financial conditions at organizations in several U.S. business sectors.

The July 2015 online survey of 601 randomly selected SHRM members showed that HR professionals expect the second half of 2015 to yield strong job growth, low layoff rates and solid financial health for their companies.

The 69 percent of respondents who said they were confident about hiring is a slight increase from the second half of 2014, when 64 percent of respondents reported being optimistic about job growth. The latest survey results reflect the highest level of optimism among HR professionals since the survey was first launched in January 2009.

“The survey was fielded just after midyear when there had been several months of strong job growth, so it makes sense that HR professionals were looking back and seeing strength in the labor market,” said Jennifer Schramm, SHRM-SCP, manager of workforce trends at SHRM. “The hiring picture seems particularly strong for companies with staffs of over 500 people,” she added.

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • Public-sector respondents were the most confident about job growth (79 percent); respondents from the nonprofit sector were the least confident (59 percent).
  • 42 percent of respondents expect their organizations to be hiring in the second half of 2015. Among employment sectors, privately owned for-profit companies (47 percent) were the most likely to anticipate job openings through the end of the year, followed by government employers (45 percent), publicly owned for-profit companies (43 percent) and nonprofits (30 percent).
  • Just 7 percent of respondents said their organizations would conduct layoffs during the second half of 2015, down from 9 percent in the second half of 2014. Publicly owned for-profits (10 percent) were the most likely to anticipate a cut in the payroll in the second half of 2015, followed by nonprofits (9 percent), privately owned for-profits (6 percent) and government agencies (2 percent).
  • More four out of five HR professionals (85 percent) viewed their organization’s financial health as strong. A majority of the survey’s respondents (68 percent) also expected their organization’s finances to remain solid for the rest of the year.
  • 35 percent of respondents surveyed expect raises for salaried individual contributors and 34 percent expect the same for managers. Another 31 percent said base pay would increase for skilled labor positions and 30 percent said increases were expected for administrative positions.
  • About three-fourths of HR professionals (74 percent) said variable pay would remain the same through December 2015, and another 19 percent said it would increase.

The report also found that hiring activity was strong during the first half of the year. Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents said their companies created jobs between January and June. Meanwhile, one-third (33 percent) of organizations reported maintaining staffing levels and 17 percent said they conducted layoffs.

“Overall, the report suggests that HR professionals are likely to be busy with their staffing responsibilities throughout the rest of the year, not only because many of them work for organizations that are adding to head count but because finding qualified individuals for key positions may not be so easy,” Schramm said. “Most of the open positions organizations will be trying to fill are replacements, but many are also brand-new positions or replacement jobs with added duties. These may require more or different skills,” adding to recruiting difficulty, she said.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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