November 19, 2014 – Hiring is on the upswing with high-level decision makers saying they expect their hiring to increase slightly (56 percent) or significantly (11 percent) in 2015, according to Notogroup Executive Search, a boutique search firm specializing in consumer products recruiting. Only three percent of respondents expect a decrease in hiring. The majority of companies cite growth in demand for their products and/or services as the main reason for the increase in hiring. The No. 1 hiring priority for companies is to improve the quality of hire (61 percent) and improve retention of key talent (28 percent). Reducing the cost per hire was ranked third or fourth by 95 percent of companies. A large number of respondents (42 percent) find that hiring has become more difficult in the past 12 months, while only 14 percent say it has become easier. The survey also found that companies use executive search firms to recruit C-level talent, with 51 percent of respondents working with an external firm at least 50 percent of the time and 23 percent working with a firm on every search. At the VP level, 44 percent of respondents work with a search firm at least 50 percent of the time. Focusing on the consumer products sector (outdoor, active performance, natural products, natural foods – wholesale, retail and ecommerce), Notogroup analyzed responses from 36 high-level decision makers to understand their priorities and challenges related to acquiring talent.