<< Return to Issue Print Page Print Page

8 Recruitment Trends for '08

By David R. Butcher
January 2, 2008

After a brief respite with Fireplace Lounge and The Happy Holiday Hearth DVDs playing on continual restful loop, the IMT blog is back to resume normal activity. Hoping you had a fantastic break and wishing you a productive new year, let’s dive right in with 2008 hiring trends...

Anticipating the onset of a slower but still steady hiring environment, employers will likely be cautious in 2008. But if finding a new job is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, the market may still be in your favor.
“Slow but steady” is the forecast for job growth in 2008 by most.

An annual study on employment and compensation trends, by Robert Half International (RHI) and Careerbuilder.com in September, reported that while 57 percent of hiring managers agreed that it was difficult to find qualified candidates for job openings in 2006, 91 percent said that recruiting had been equally or even more challenging in 2007.

Sixty-four percent of HR professional respondents to the study, entitled The Employment and Growth Expectations (EDGE) Report, believed that recruiting will be just as challenging in 2008 as it was in 2007, and 28 percent said they expect it will be even more challenging. As found in the 2006 EDGE Report, the most difficult positions to fill are technical and professional positions; an increase from 37 percent in 2006 to 43 percent in 2007 showed that the hiring situation in these two categories continues to grow more difficult.

Despite innumerable economic uncertainties, the job market of 2007 showed much resilience and produced upward of 1.3 million new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Looking forward, plans for hiring are tracking below last year’s projections, but point to continued job creation.

CareerBuilder.com has released the results of its latest survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, tracking projected hiring trends for 2008. The 2008 Job Forecast survey was conducted from Nov. 13 through Dec. 3, 2007, among 3,016 hiring managers and human resource professionals in private-sector companies.

Thirty-two percent of employers CareerBuilder.com surveyed plan to increase full-time, permanent employees in 2008, down from 40 percent who planned to do so in 2007, according to the online job site’s report. Thirteen percent are unsure.

The CareerBuilder.com report is more or less in line with a forecast issued earlier last month by Manpower, whose numbers in the staffing firm’s Employment Outlook also point to slow-but-steady job growth and continued recruiting challenges in 2008.

Manpower reports that hiring expectations are stable in the Durable Goods Manufacturing, Wholesale/Retail Trade and Finance/Insurance/Real Estate sectors, while Mining and Transportation/Public Utilities employers expect a slight uptick. Employers in the Construction, Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, Education, Services and Public Administration sectors report a decline in hiring confidence.

On the other hand, the current Leading Indicator of National Employment (LINE) survey, from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, indicates that employment expectations for January 2008 are flat for the manufacturing sector and have dropped for the service sector. In the manufacturing sector, the exempt and nonexempt vacancy indices are higher than they were in December 2006. In the service sector, the vacancy indices for exempt and nonexempt positions have dropped sharply. The recruiting difficulty index dropped dramatically from the December 2006 levels in both the manufacturing and service sectors.

Yet solid job creation in Professional and Business Services and Information Technology is expected to carry into the coming year. According to CareerBuilder, 45 percent of employers in these sectors plan to add full-time, permanent employees in 2008, followed by 37 percent of employers in Transportation and Utilities, 34 percent in Financial Services and 32 percent in Hospitality. Health Care and Retail employers are also planning to expand staffs at 28 percent each.

So, the labor market does not appear to be entering the new year with much momentum. Following a solid November report, economists believe a rise in initial jobless claims during December means a pullback in hiring. The consensus forecast is a rise in December payrolls of only 70,000 jobs.

December figures on fresh business activity for both manufacturing and service sectors should shed light on future hiring trends. Export orders indices remain strong despite lower overall orders measures. If demand abroad can hold up, it could give businesses a reason to believe that the U.S. economy can avert an economic recession and bounce back in 2008.

Twenty-nine percent of employers plan to add employees in the first quarter of 2008, according to CareerBuilder. Seven percent will decrease headcount while 60 percent anticipate no change and 5 percent are unsure.

For more coverage on CareerBuilder.com's forecast, see 8 Recruitment Trends for '08.

Source: CareerBuilder.com