Companies expect to add staff at a rapid clip

Hiring sign
Companies are on a robust hiring path. (zakokor/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Companies continue to enjoy good economic times, and their hiring plans reflect this.

Seventy-seven percent of companies plan to increase their staff by at least 25% this year, according to research conducted by Spark Hire. Respondents said new services and expanding to new geographic locations and industries are reasons their rapidly growing companies are focusing on finding new talent pools. In fact, 67% said this is their main goal. Unfortunately, their biggest rapid-growth obstacle is finding qualified candidates.  

To overcome this obstacle, “you need to take action beyond scaling your hiring process,” said Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire. “With high turnover listed as a major obstacle when hiring (25%) it’s time to look at why hiring for retention is missing the mark.”

Respondents to the survey said they’re making work experience (42%) and growth potential (21%) high hiring priorities. This leaves soft skills (11%) and cultural fit (7%) at the bottom of their priorities, which is a hiring and retention error, Tolan said. “In fact, we found companies more concerned about high turnover are also less likely to prioritize cultural fit.”  

“Equip your team with new hiring tools, such as social media, ATS and video interviews to better assess soft skills and cultural fit,” Tolan said. “Allow current employees to participate in live video interviews or send recorded versions so they can help determine who will excel as part of the team. Remember, even though making a careful decision is important, quickly responding and sending an offer is just as crucial.”

Another survey shows a similar job trajectory.

U.S. employer hiring confidence is staying strong in the second quarter of 2018, as 1 in 5 employers plans to grow its workforce in the three months ahead. The seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook for the second quarter is up 18%, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey of more than 11,500 U.S. employers.

Organizations are planning to add staff across all 13 industry sectors in the second quarter. "We're seeing solid, demand-fueled growth across the U.S. as the economy continues to strengthen and the labor market tightens at pace," said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. "The competition for skilled talent is set to heat up and a just-in-time approach isn't always getting employers the skills they need when they need them.”

The job loss numbers are not dire, either. Last month's total is 4.3% lower than the 36,957 announced job cuts in February 2017, said Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

So far this year, employers have announced 80,022 cuts, 3.5% lower than through February last year. This is the lowest number of announced job cuts between January and February since 1995, when 69,907 cuts were announced.

“The economy is almost at full employment, and companies are holding on to their workforces. Announced job cuts have been below 50,000 a month for the last 22 months. That’s the longest streak in our tracking,” said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 

And employees will be on the move. The majority of the population will be searching for a new career opportunity in 2018, a survey by Nexxt found.

Some 76% of job seekers who were surveyed plan to look for a new job this year. And although 63% of job seekers think there will be more job opportunities in 2018, 63% feel it will be harder to find a job this year. Some 89% of job seekers predict an increase in competition among job seekers as well.

  • The top three reasons for looking for a new role are that respondents were/will be laid off (30%), are underemployed (24%) or are underpaid (19%). All survey takers, except those who are over 72 years old, selected being “underpaid” as one of the top three reasons to look for a new job.
  • Flexible work hours/remote work (63%), unlimited vacation days (18%) and student loan reimbursement (16%) are the top benefits the talent pool is seeking in their next career role.
  • 30% of survey takers would pursue a new field/industry if they were to change jobs.
  • The top industries job seekers are pursuing for new roles are healthcare (22%) and technology (17%).

One area that may be lagging a little is small business. After an uptick to start the year, the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch saw small declines in jobs and wage growth in February.

The Small Business Jobs Index stands at 99.77, down 0.11% from January and 1% below last year. The index has been below 100 since July 2017. Hourly earnings increased $0.69 in the past year to $26.41, but February’s 12-month growth rate fell to 2.67% compared with 2.74% the previous month. Weekly earnings growth has also slipped below 3% during the past quarter.

Still, the showing is not being viewed with much concern because the declines were relatively modest.

“After a prolonged downturn, the Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Jobs Index has stabilized at just below 100, a marginal decline in small business dynamism from a decade and a half ago,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit.

“The results of the Small Business Jobs Index over the past year are evidence of the tightening labor market,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex CEO. “As the growth in jobs stabilizes because of challenges in finding qualified employees, we expect to see business owners making positive changes to wages and benefits to recruit and retain top quality talent.”