Cautious Hiring Expected

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Chicago — Dec. 30 released the results of its latest survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, tracking projected hiring trends for 2009. The survey, titled “2009 Job Forecast,” was conducted from Nov. 12 through Dec. 1, 2008, among 3,259 hiring managers and human resource professionals in private sector companies.

“The job market of 2008 suffered as the U.S. economy weakened and entered into a recession,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of “Looking ahead, recruitment levels are expected to be lower in the new year, but employers are not out of the mix completely; instead they’re taking ‘a wait and see’ approach to hiring. Fourteen percent of employers, surveyed by, state they plan to increase full-time, permanent employees, and 16 percent plan to decrease in 2009. The remainder of employers say they are unsure or don’t plan to make any changes to their headcount in the new year.”

  • Full-time: Fourteen percent of employers plan to increase their number of full-time, permanent employees in 2009, compared to 32 percent who anticipated increasing headcount in 2008. Sixteen percent plan to decrease staff levels in 2009 while 56 percent expect no change. Thirteen percent are unsure.
  • Part-time: Eight percent of employers plan to increase their number of part-time employees in 2009, down from 21 percent who expected to do so in 2008. Fourteen percent plan to decrease headcount in 2009; 62 percent expect no change and 15 percent are unsure.
  • Hiring By region: Staff expansions are expected to be strongest in the South and West in 2009. Eighteen percent of employers in the South and 14 percent of employers in the West plan to add full-time, permanent employees, compared to 13 percent in the Midwest and 11 percent in the Northeast. Employers in the Northeast are projecting one of the largest amounts of staff decreases at 19 percent, followed by 17 percent in the Midwest, 16 percent in the West and 14 percent in the South.
  • Hiring by industry: Comparing select industries, job creation in professional and business services and information technology is expected to carry into the new year. Twenty-eight percent of IT and 23 percent of professional and business services employers plan to add full-time, permanent employees in 2009, followed by 20 percent of employers in transportation and utilities, 16 percent in sales, 14 percent in health care and 13 percent in financial services.

Seven Major Hiring Trends for 2009

  • Increased salaries: Even as companies explore ways to cut costs, employers still plan to increase salaries in the coming year.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Close to one third (31 percent) of employers say they plan to provide more flexible work arrangements in 2009.
  • Green jobs: Employers plan to become more environmentally-aware in the new year. Thirteen percent of employers say they plan to add “green jobs” in 2009, compared to one-in-ten who say they added them in 2008.
  • Recruitment tools: As recruitment budgets tighten, more employers are leveraging the Internet as a vehicle for finding potential employees.
  • Retaining retirees: A quarter of employers surveyed report concern over the loss of intellectual capital at their organizations as a large number of baby boomers approach retirement age.
  • Diversity recruitment: When asked if there is a particular segment of diverse workers they plan to target more aggressively in 2009, employers pointed to Hispanic workers, women, African-American workers and mature workers.
  • Freelance or contract hiring: As the nation waits for the economy to bounce back, employers are turning to freelance or contract workers to help support their businesses.
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