HR News & Trends

Mid-Year Job Forecast Shows Hiring Picking Up Over the Remainder of 2012

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CareerBuilder, the mega job board, has come out with it’s job outlook for the second half of 2012, and it “shows continued improvement over 2011.”

It is, in a word, somewhat encouraging — for now.

The numbers tell the story:

  • Some 44 percent of private sector employers reported they are planning to hire full-time, permanent staff from July 1 through December 31, 2012, an increase of 9 percentage points over the same period last year (when it was 35 percent).
  • Second half hiring in 2012 is also up a whopping 16 percent over the last half of 2010, when just 28 percent of employers said they were adding full-time staff.
  • Hiring of part-time employees is also expected to climb over the next six months, with 21 percent of employers saying they will add workers, up from 15 percent in 2011.
  • The hiring contract or temporary employees is also forecast to rise to 21 percent the rest of this year, up from 12 percent in 2011

Job creation “slower” than expected

This all sounds good, no? Well temper that enthusiasm for a bit.

“The rate of job creation has been slower than what we would have expected at this point in the recovery, but the market is stable,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, in a press release about the latest job forecast survey.

“Two years ago, the hiring activity in the U.S. was driven primarily by large employers recruiting in metropolitan areas for a handful of industries or job functions. Today, we see job listings in all industries, market sizes and company sizes. The outlook for the remainder of the year is better than 2011, but it will follow the same pattern of steady progress rather than a surge in job growth. Employers will remain careful as they assess barriers and opportunities for growth in the economy and their own businesses.”

Yes, it’s probably good to get someone like CareerBuilder’s Ferguson to continue to tamp down on expectations. After all, it is a slow, mediocre economic recovery we’re in, and everyone seems to be feeling that vibe.

There are a lot more numbers in this latest CareerBuilder survey that will give you a better sense of expected hiring patterns, but here’s some of the data that I found most interesting — the functional areas where employers are hiring first, and, the occupations that are emerging as the top ones to get hired in.

Where employers are hiring first

According to the CareerBuilder survey, “the top functional areas for which businesses plan to hire first are those directly impacting revenue and innovation.”

  • Customer Service – 24 percent;
  • Information Technology (IT) – 22 percent;
  • Sales – 21 percent;
  • Administrative – 16 percent;
  • Business Development – 13 percent;
  • Accounting/Finance – 12 percent;
  • Marketing – 11 percent.

Emerging occupations

CareerBuilder’s survey also noted that “more employers are also reporting that their organizations have created entirely new job functions within their organizations to respond to evolving business demands. When asked if their organizations currently have positions that didn’t exist in their firms five years ago, employers pointed to the following:”

  • Positions tied to social media – 16 percent;
  • Positions tied to storing and managing data – 15 percent;
  • Positions tied to cyber security – 12 percent;
  • Positions tied to financial regulation – 10 percent;
  • Positions tied to promoting diversity inside and outside the organization – 9 percent;
  • Positions tied to green energy and the environment – 8 percent;
  • Positions tied to global relations – 8 percent.

The nationwide CareerBuilder survey was conducted by Harris Interactive from May 14, 2012 to June 4, 2012. It included more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals across industries and company sizes.

Take from this survey what you will, because it may actually reflect more wishful thinking than it does actual, honest-to-god, hiring plans. For example, I find it hard to believe that positions devoted to green energy are thought to be one of the top emerging occupations by hiring managers given how much the green energy industry seems to struggle to make a profit (remember Solyndra?)

Yes, green energy always sound good in principle, but it seems to lose something in practice — mainly a profitable business model that can sustain large scale job creation. This can always change, of course, but from my perspective, its track record in this regard isn’t very good.

So, take from this survey what you will, but the bottom line is that it is a moderately positive forecast — and in this economy, that’s not a bad thing.

John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of TLNT.com, and the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices. Contact him at john@tlnt.com, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/johnhollon.