Global Hiring Intentions Hold Steady from Q2, Drop Year-over-Year

The latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey has found that employers plan strong hiring efforts heading into the third quarter, with North America providing the most positive outlook. Let’s take a look at the report and see what hiring managers had to say.

June 26, 2024 – Global hiring intentions are holding strong for the third quarter of 2024, with a Net Employment Outlook (NEO) of 22 percent, though outlooks weaken since Q3 2023 according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. The survey, which gathered data from over 40,000 employers across 42 countries, reveals that while the NEO remains unchanged from the previous quarter, it represents a – six percent decline compared to the same period last year. This year-over-year decrease indicates that economic uncertainties continue to impact hiring plans.

Additionally, the survey found that employers are beginning to identify the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies. More than seven in 10 employers (72 percent) believe AI and ML will have a positive impact on business performance, especially in the IT and financials and real estate industries. Most (70 percent) plan to leverage AI to boost upskilling, reskilling, and training efforts.

“Though labor markets are holding strong in many markets, ongoing economic uncertainty continues to give employers pause,” said Jonas Prising, chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup. “Most are incrementally more cautious than this time last year, prioritizing hiring for the core skills they need. At the same time – the promise of AI advances is front of mind for businesses across every industry. This data shows organizations are focusing on upskilling their current workforce and maximizing the potential of AI to drive efficiencies and boost productivity.”

While North American employers remain the most optimistic with a 27 percent outlook for the third quarter, hiring intentions have fallen – eight percent from Q3 2023 and – four percent from last quarter. Employers in the United States (30 percent) reported the strongest hiring intentions, though the outlook declines five percentage points year-over-year. U.S. employers report one of the strongest global outlooks for the information technology sector at 50 percent.

Within Asia Pacific (APAC), hiring managers across the region anticipate the second strongest regional outlook (23 percent), a decline from both the previous quarter (- four percent) and when compared year-over-year (- eight percent). Employers in India (30 percent) and China (28 percent) continue to report the strongest outlooks in the region, while the most cautious Outlooks were reported by employers in Hong Kong (eight percent) and Japan (12 percent). ManpowerGroup found that hiring sentiment across the region varies depending on company sizes, as employers in organizations with more than 5,000 employees are four times more optimistic (32 percent) to hire than those with less than 10 employees (eight percent).

At 22 percent, hiring projections declined year-over-year (- seven percent), but improved + three percent quarterly within Central & South America. Strongest intentions are by employers in Costa Rica (35 percent), Guatemala (32 percent), and Mexico (32 percent). Employers in Guatemala report the strongest hiring outlook globally for both the IT sector (55 percent) and the consumer goods & services sector (54 percent), while Mexico has the strongest outlook for the communication services sector (44 percent), and Costa Rica reports the strongest intentions in both the financials & real estate (54 percent) and healthcare & life sciences (46 percent) sectors.

Related: A Look at the Crucial Role of Talent Advisory in Guiding Hiring Executives

Employers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) report the lowest hiring outlook among all regions at 18 percent. While hiring intentions weakened – three percent compared to the same period last year, they have strengthened by + two percent since the second quarter of 2024. Employers in Switzerland (34 percent), South Africa (31 percent), and The Netherlands (28 percent) report the strongest hiring plans, while those in Romania (three percent) and Israel (four percent) anticipate the weakest hiring activity. Globally, the energy & utilities sector shows the strongest hiring outlook in Switzerland at 66 percent. In Ireland, employers report the strongest global outlooks for both transport, logistics & automotive (50 percent) and industrials & materials (47 percent).

Additional Findings

Nearly half (48 percent) of companies said they have already adopted AI, including generative conversational AI. This is a 13 percent increase when compared to employers’ responses one year ago (35 percent). More than half (55 percent) of employers expect to increase headcount due to AI and machine learning over the next two years, nearly one in four (24 percent) believe there will be no impact, and 18 percent anticipate the technology will lead to staffing decreases.

Strategic Talent Acquisition Planning in 2024
In the competitive landscape of talent acquisition and executive-level hiring, having a well-curated strategic plan is crucial. With the year coming to a close, a new report from McDermott + Bull’s Jason Levi Pinegar explains that it becomes pivotal to map out an executive hiring and human capital strategy for 2024 to ensure sustained success, talent retention, and future growth. The report looks into key areas to streamline your executive recruiting and leadership strategies for the upcoming year.

“Looking back over the last several years, the talent landscape has witnessed unprecedented candidate mobility and significant recalibrations,” the McDermott + Bull report said. “As a significant number of boomers approach retirement, organizations face the challenge of replacing them. The market, increasingly filled with less experienced candidates, will make recruitment progressively more demanding.”

Employers also reveal that AI optimism varies by seniority, with senior leaders (69 percent) the most optimistic and factory floor and frontline workers (57 percent) the least optimistic. Respondents cited high costs (33 percent), concerns about privacy and regulations (31 percent), and lack of employees with AI skills (31 percent) as among the top challenges in AI adoption.

Latest Jobs Report

Employment rose by 272,000 in May as the U.S. unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.0 percent, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The number of unemployed persons was 6.6 million in May. Employment continued to trend up in several industries, led by healthcare; government; leisure and hospitality; and professional, scientific, and technical services. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.8 percent), adult women (3.4 percent), teenagers (12.3 percent), Whites (3.5 percent), Blacks (6.1 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (5.0 percent) showed little or no change in May. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.4 million, changed little in May. The long-term unemployed accounted for 20.7 percent of all unemployed people.

“On the surface, [the report] was hot, but you’ve also got a bigger drop in household employment,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab. “For what it’s worth, that tends to be a more accurate signal when you’re at an inflection point in the economy. You can find weakness in the underlying numbers.”

“This data undermines the message that other recent economic data have been giving of a cooling U.S. economy, and slams the door shut on a July rate cut,” said Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management. “Not only has jobs growth exploded again, but wage growth has also surprised to the upside, both moving in the opposite direction to what the Fed needs to begin easing policy.”

Related: How to Get Ahead in the Hiring Waiting Game

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief and Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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