Posted March 12, 2012 by

Hiring Expected More Slowly in Second Quarter of 2012

Job seekers should expect more hiring, as we head into Spring 2012; though at a reduced rate.

Hiring in professional fields is likely to continue rising in the second quarter but at a slower pace than forecast for the first quarter, a new Robert Half survey shows. A net 2 percent of executives interviewed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report plan to add full-time staff in the second three months of 2012, down from 10 percent last quarter. The biggest trend in the survey is the increase in the number of respondents who anticipate no change in hiring activity: 89 percent versus 78 percent last quarter.

Against this background, 91 percent of executives reported they are somewhat or very confident in their companies’ growth prospects in the second quarter, up four points from the first-quarter survey. In addition, more than six in 10 respondents (61 percent) indicated they are having difficulty finding skilled employees today.

The survey found that:

  • Five percent of executives anticipate bringing in additional staff, and 3 percent expect personnel reductions. Eighty-nine percent of respondents project no changes to the size of their full-time, professional-level teams in the second quarter.
  • Nine out of 10 (91 percent) executives expressed confidence about growth at their firms during the quarter.
  • Sixty-one percent of those surveyed reported recruiting challenges.
  • The legal field is again expected to see the strongest hiring activity, with a net 22 percent of lawyers planning to increase staff levels.
  • Businesses in the East South Central (AL, KY, MS, TN) states anticipate hiring most actively, with a net 8 percent of executives in the region expecting to add professional-level staff.
  • Respondents in the transportation sector are most likely to make staff additions in the second quarter; a net 9 percent said they anticipate hiring.

Hiring Expectations: By Profession

 

Increase

Decrease

Net
Increase

Total

5%

3%

2%

Accounting and finance

4%

5%

-1%

Advertising and marketing

13%

3%

10%

Human resources

4%

2%

2%

Information technology (IT)

8%

5%

3%

Legal

26%

4%

22%

Sales and business development

7%

2%

5%

 

Although the hiring outlook for professional-level positions remains positive overall, it could be tempered somewhat in reaction to issues such as the fiscal uncertainties in the Eurozone and weaker growth in Asia,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International.

Added Brett Good, a senior district president with Robert Half International, “Companies that are not ready to make a full-time hire often fill human resource needs on a temporary basis so they can staff up or down as business demands change. Temporary and project professionals provide access to skills on a right-now basis and can give businesses more control over their personnel budgets.”

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