Mostly Sunny with a Chance of Employment: The 2011 Hiring Forecast

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by Traci K and BrightMove Providers of Global Recruiting Software and Onboarding Software

It’s a long, uphill battle, but it seems we are getting there.  Numerous surveys show a positive outlook for US hiring in 2011. reports that “business leaders in the US are planning to hire new members of staff during 2011”, citing a research survey conducted by Regus, a company providing offices, meeting rooms, and virtual offices worldwide.  Ranstad goes on stating that:

“Research by Regus reveals 32 percent of firms expect to expand their workforces next year, suggesting companies are witnessing signs of recovery and sustainable upward growth.  Confidence in future outlook within the country also climbed, with the index rising by seven points over the past six months to 87.  Additionally, the bi-annual Business Tracker survey of more than 10,000 senior executives in 78 countries worldwide showed that 36 per cent of those polled planned to increase recruitment during 2011.  The report suggests global unemployment trends may be reversing following rising joblessness in recent years and Regus regional vice-president Sande Golgart said: “The intention to increase headcount is a clear indicator that businesses want to be prepared to grasp the opportunities that recovering markets may throw their way.

A related article posted by PR Newswire provides a valid point of view that “These findings are particularly significant, coming in the wake of recent observations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Labour Organization (ILO) that global unemployment has reached record proportions in the last three years (up to 210 million since 2007). These organizations have warned about potential problems for national economies if this trend continues.  Unemployment reduces national taxation income and increases public spending. The findings of the Regus Business Tracker provide important evidence that the world unemployment situation may be set to ease in 2011.”

This information translates into a greater chance at opportunities for upcoming college grads.  The 2011 Job Outlook Survey by the NACE shows that employers plan to hire 13.5 percent more graduates from the Class of 2011 than were previously hired from the Class of 2010.  The increased demand is greatest in the fields of engineering and computer science.  The West is purported to be hiring more than other areas of the United States, followed by the Midwest.

Even individual companies are showcasing their hiring interests for next year.  Last month Deloitte announced a plan to hire 50,000 employees each year for the next five years, so 250,000 employees total (5,000 of the 2011 hires being new college graduates). says Deloitte is “hiring across all of its major businesses in the U.S., particularly in its financial services industries” and that “the company is looking for candidates with ‘superior analytical and problem-solving skills’ as well as and team-building abilities”.

Manpower conducted their own survey, focusing on 2010 results and anticipated changes as the year draws to a close:

U.S. employers anticipate a slight gain  in employment levels for Quarter 4 2010, the fourth successive quarter of modest to favorable hiring plans, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc.

Survey data reveals a seasonally adjusted Outlook of +5% for Quarter 4 2010, up from -1% during the same period last year and stable compared to Quarter 3 2010.

Employers’ hiring confidence nationwide experienced a noteworthy rebound in 2010 when compared to 2009:

  • A positive overall hiring Outlook was reported all four quarters of 2010, which followed three quarters with a negative Outlook in 2009, according to seasonally adjusted survey results.
  • Employers across all industries reported a mostly positive Outlook in 2010, whereas the Outlook within the majority of industry sectors was negative in 2009.
  • Across the four geographic regions, all reported four quarters of positive hiring plans, while 2009 results were mostly negative.

“Clearly there are signs of a softening labor market, but when we consider what we are hearing from our clients and by looking at our own business, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic,” said Manpower Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Joerres.  “The hiring intentions for the fourth quarter are not enough to break through the labor market sound barrier that we’re all eagerly anticipating, as 71 percent of employers indicate no change in hiring.”

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed, 15% anticipate an increase in staff levels in their Quarter 4 2010 hiring plans, while 11% expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +4%. When seasonally adjusted, the Net Employment Outlook improves slightly to +5%. Seventy-one percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans. The final 3% of employers indicate they are undecided about their hiring intentions.

“After a period of very negative hiring sentiment in 2009, we have seen greater stability for the employed throughout 2010, although with only modest increases in hiring plans. This stability is an important platform to establish for more robust labor market growth in 2011,” said Jonas Prising, Manpower president of the Americas.  “Looking back at where we were in 2009, the employment environment is more promising now, however many employers are still unsure about how the economy will fare and how robust the recovery will be. Until we move beyond this uncertainty, we are unlikely to see employers hire in a meaningful way, and this is evident in their consistently modest hiring plans.”

Employers in 11 of the 13 industry sectors surveyed have a positive Outlook for Quarter 4 2010: Mining (+13%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+13%), Professional & Business Services (+10%), Leisure & Hospitality (+9%), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+7%), Information (+7), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+6%), Financial Activities (+4%), Education & Health Services (+4), Other Services (+3%) and Transportation & Utilities (+2%). The October – December 2010 Outlook is negative for two of the surveyed industry sectors: Government (-6%) and Construction (-8%). Employers in one sector, Education & Health Services, anticipate an increase in quarter-over-quarter hiring.

“As we enter a very busy retail quarter, it’s encouraging to see that Wholesale & Retail Trade employers anticipate a healthy Outlook of 13%,” continued Prising.  “This represents a moderate increase compared with fourth quarter 2009.”

Compared to one year ago, employers in all four U.S. geographic regions surveyed anticipate hiring increases. Employers in the Northeast and South have the most upbeat hiring intentions, with a Net Employment Outlook of +6%. Employers in the West are the most reserved, with an Outlook of +1%. When adjusting for seasonal variations, Northeast employers anticipate the strongest shift compared to one year ago at this time, with a considerable increase in hiring confidence year-over-year. Compared to Quarter 3 2010, employment prospects are stable in the Midwest and South, while employers in the Northeast and West expect hiring to decrease slightly in Quarter 4 2010.

Though it seems hiring in the short term may stay stagnate, perhaps decreasing, multiple sources are confident in the possibilities for 2011.  Whether positive or skeptical, we are all hopeful that 2011 leads us closer to recovery.  We need to bring the rest of Generation Y into the workforce so that these young minds can become capable, experienced professionals (and my future recruits!).  Current hiring frustrations come not from a shortage of available workers, but from a shortage of skilled workers.

Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration.  When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.

1 Comment

  1. L. M. CARDONA on December 22, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Since my profession is a JOB DEVELOPER and I proudly assist individuals who are seeking employment or need to update their resume, create a new one and/or apply for employment online. This helps me to encourage jobseekers, be focused and keep a positive outlook in finding employment for 2011, despite the unemployment rate. Thanks

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