Employers report highest increase in Q1 hiring since recession

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Baseball season has finally kicked off, but there is even better news to report for job seekers: Companies are returning to their pre-recession hiring levels, according to CareerBuilder’s latest nationwide survey.

Thirty percent of employers plan to add new full-time, permanent staff through June, building on the momentum from the first three months of this year. The hiring trend for the first quarter was on par with 2007 and the highest increase in hiring reported since the recession began.

The study also shows that employers are competing for job candidates, with more than half reporting that a candidate rejected a job offer from their organization within the last year. Forty-one percent of those attributed the rejection to their inability to provide the candidate’s desired salary, while 22 percent said they didn’t offer the position quickly enough and the candidate was already hired somewhere else.

Compensation

  • 42 percent of employers expect there will be an increase in salaries of 3 percent or less.
  • 31 percent expect no change in salary levels in the second quarter compared with the same period last year.
  • 17 percent expect their average salary increase will be between 4 and 10 percent.
  • 3 percent predict an increase in salaries of 11 percent or more.
  • 3 percent expect a decrease in salaries.

Temporary hiring

Employers are increasing their use of temporary labor to help meet increased business demands. Thirty-seven percent of employers reported they hired contract or temporary workers in the first quarter, up from 29 percent last year. Thirty-four percent plan to hire contract or temporary workers in the second quarter, up from 26 percent last year. Nearly 25 percent plan to transition some contract or temporary staff into permanent employees in the second quarter, up from 17 percent last year.

Skills gap still a challenge

“One of the major challenges the U.S. faces is being able to align the skill sets of the labor force with positions that are in high demand,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.

“There is a growing gap between high-skill job openings and available talent that has a larger impact on overall employment. Fifteen percent of employers reported that, because they can’t fill high-skill positions within their organizations, they’re not able to create lower-skilled positions that are tied to these roles.”

However, we’re moving toward a job market that is stable and growing, Ferguson says.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE JOB FORECAST

“Forty-one percent of companies reported their sales have increased over the last six months, which is helping to fuel greater confidence in hiring,” he adds. “The amount of job listings we’re seeing for key categories on CareerBuilder.com are similar to that of 2007. All indicators point to steady improvement in the job market in the second quarter and beyond.”

The national survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive from Feb. 9 to March 2, 2012, included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals.

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