January 12, 2018 – The hiring outlook for 2018 is the best the U.S. has seen in over a decade with 44 percent of employers planning to hire full-time, permanent employees in the new year and half (51 percent) expecting to hire temporary employees, according to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast.
The most pressing question, however, remains: How quickly can they fill those roles, if at all? Forty five percent of HR managers said they have jobs they are unable to fill because they cannot find qualified talent and 58 percent reported that they have jobs that stay open for 12 weeks or longer. At the same time, employers will have a harder time holding on to current employees because 40 percent of workers plan to change jobs in 2018. For executive recruiters and talent acquisition professionals, it’s enough to make their heads spin.
“Whether it’s unemployed people trying to find their way back to the workforce or those who are currently employed attempting an upgrade to greener pastures, a new year makes many people set their sights on job hunting,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer (CHRO) for CareerBuilder. “To keep your top workers, you need to keep a pulse on what they’re seeking. For example, poll your employees from time to time to learn more about their goals and motivations and how they want to be treated.”
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The national survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, also indicated that employers will offer better wages, place emphasis on candidates’ soft skills and reach out to candidates via texts to invite them for job interviews. It included a representative sample of hiring managers and human resource professionals across industry.
The amount of employers planning to hire full-time, permanent staff in the New Year was similar to last year, increasing four percentage points from 40 percent in 2017 to 44 percent in 2018. Six percent of employers expected a decline in staff levels in 2018, an improvement from 8 percent last year. Forty five percent anticipated no change while five percent were unsure.
The increased reliance on temporary labor was expected to carry over into 2018 as companies work to maintain flexibility in their workforce and test drive candidates for permanent roles. Fifty one percent of employers planned to hire temporary or contract workers in 2018, on par with last year. Sixty four percent of these employers intended to transition some temporary or contract workers into permanent roles in 2018.
The West and Northeast were the leading regions in the percentage of employers hiring full-time, permanent employees at 49 percent and 47 percent, respectively, followed by the South at 45 percent. The Midwest continued to lag behind other regions with 33 percent of employers planning to hire in the new year.
While employers said functions such as customer service, sales, information technology and production will top their list for full-time, permanent hiring in 2018, they also pointed to other key areas where they will be boosting their headcount:
- Jobs tied to skilled labor – 30 percent.
- Jobs tied to data analysis – 25 percent.
- Jobs tied to digital marketing – 17 percent.
- Jobs tied to cybersecurity – 15 percent.
- Jobs tied to automation – 12 percent.
- Jobs tied to artificial intelligence and machine learning – 10 percent.
“More job creation, higher voluntary employee turnover and intensified competition for talent will be the main themes surrounding employment in 2018,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “There is a perfect storm happening in the U.S. labor market. Low unemployment paired with lagging labor force participation and a growing skills gap is making it very difficult for businesses to find qualified candidates – and this is for all types of roles. If employers want to remain competitive, they are going to have to look to new talent pools and significantly increase their investment in training workers to build up the skills they require.”
2018 Predictions for Talent Acquisition Professionals
The future of talent acquisition will be more personal, more segmented, more strategic and more driven by an up-and-coming generation, according to Korn Ferry Futurestep experts from across the globe. Driving change in 2018 and beyond, said Byrne Mulrooney, Futurestep’s CEO, will be the rapid pace of technological advancement.
Five Employer Trends to Watch in the New Year
With companies struggling to usher new employees in the door, they are exploring various sources for finding job candidates and increasing compensation in 2018. CareerBuilder offers up five trends to watch for this year:
- Capturing New Talent Early – Employers will start courting college students early – 64 percent plan to hire recent college graduates this year.
- Importing Talent – Employers will be looking beyond borders to find talent with 23 percent planning to hire workers from other countries to work in the U.S.
- Re-engaging Past Employees –Employers will increase outreach to workers who know their business and have a history with them: Thirty-nine percent plan to hire former employees in 2018.
- Hiring for Potential – Sixty six percent of employers said they will train and hire workers who may not have all the skills they need, but have potential; 44 percent of all employers plan to train low-skill workers who don’t have experience in their field and hire them for higher-skill jobs.
- Boosting Compensation – While wage gains have not reached desired levels, employers will become more aggressive with compensation levels for in-demand workers: Thirty percent plan to increase starting salaries for new employees by 5 percent or more while 36 percent will do the same for existing staff.
A Talent Management Perspective
“Job growth continues to trend positively,” said Chuck Mollor, managing partner at MCG Partners, a Boston, MA-based talent management and leadership development firm. “Wages rose, which is the largest increase for one month in 2017; however, as the economy is the healthiest it’s been in 17 years, slow wage growth will continue to be a hot topic in 2018.”
Organizations are utilizing incentives and additional benefits rather than increasing salaries, he said, “focusing more on a pay for performance.” At some point, he added, “ employers will need to raise compensation and engagement levels to hire top talent. They are going to have to focus more than ever on engaging and retaining top talent as roles will be harder to fill. This will put even greater emphasis on the effectiveness of leadership and managers to develop, engage, motivate and inspire their people, and to provide opportunities for career growth and advancement.”
Organizations, meanwhile, often lack effective succession planning and Baby Boomer retirements are accelerating. “This is driving greater focus to retain and develop future leaders,” Mr. Mollor said. “MCG Partners is seeing significant growth in leadership development and effectiveness to develop and retain future and current leaders, and to address employee engagement and performance.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media