For a year or two, when hiring was seemingly nonexistent, I thought “you’re hired” would only be remembered as a billionaire’s catch phrase on a reality show. Fortunately for everyone, things have turned around. The first three months of 2011 were the best for hiring since the start of 2008, according to CareerBuilder and USA Today’s latest job forecast. (Remember the first quarter of 2008, when workers were thinking about receiving raises instead of pink slips?)
According to the survey, 28 percent of surveyed employers reported hiring full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of 2011, January through March. What makes that news even better is that, when surveyed in December of last year, 23 percent of employers expected to hiring full-time workers. That means they were able to bring on more new employees than they had expected. That was the seventh consecutive quarter in which hiring was better than had been projected. All job seekers should be happy about that.
It gets better: 28 percent of employers expect to hire full-time workers in the coming three months. If the past seven quarters are any indicator, they could exceed their expectations once again.
Of course, the rosier hiring outlook is the result of an improving economy, which means workers are also expecting a more favorable job market. This worries employers who don’t want to lose their best employees to another company. In fact, 33 percent of employers are concerned that their top performers will seek employment elsewhere. This aligns with the 31 percent of workers who say they intend to start job hunting as the economy improves. Bolstering employer woes: 14 percent of managers say their top workers left the company in the first quarter.
Temporary work has been a reliable way to find employment for the past several years, as companies have been skittish – or financially unable – to bring on full-time, permanent employees. This quarter’s survey suggests that trend will continue, even as the hiring outlook improves.
In the first quarter, 29 percent of employers hired contract or temporary workers. In the second quarter, 26 percent expect to do so. But what’s most promising for job seekers is the news that 17 percent of employers plan to transition some contract and temporary workers into permanent employees.
What to expect in your paycheck
So your odds of finding a job between now and the end of June are good, but how will your bank account look? That’s the information job seekers care about. And overall your outlook is good – or at least it’s not bad. While 39 percent of workers don’t expect to alter salaries this quarter, 38 percent do foresee a pay increase of 3 percent or less. Small, but not terrible. However, 15 percent say they expect salary increases of 4 to 10 percent. And for a few lucky workers, 2 percent of employers predict a boost of 11 percent or higher. Only 3 percent of businesses say they plan to decrease salaries.
Other survey results
- The best regional outlook is in the West, where 33 percent of hiring managers plan to increase full-time permanent employees.
- The South has the weakest hiring outlook (24 percent) but is also the least likely of all regions to downsize.
- In large businesses (500 employees or more), 36 percent of employers will add full-time workers.
- In small businesses (fewer than 500 employees), 23 percent of hiring managers will recruit full-time workers.
Overall, the hiring outlook is better than it has been in three years. And if the past is any indicator, the next three months might be better than we expect. For unemployed job seekers, it means the odds of hearing, “You’re hired” are better than they have been in a long time. And for passive job seekers hoping to move to a new company, the time seems right for you, too. If you’re interested, check out the full outlook here.
Do you have high hopes for the second quarter of 2011? How did the first three months treat you?