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Slower, but Steady Hiring Expected for the New Year: CareerBuilder.com Job Forecast

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RISMEDIA, Dec. 31, 2007–CareerBuilder.com, an online job site with more than 23 million unique visitors and over 1.5 million jobs, released the results of its latest survey, conducted by Harris Interactive(R), tracking projected hiring trends for 2008. The survey, titled “2008 Job Forecast,” was conducted from November 13 through December 3, 2007 among 3,016 hiring managers and human resource professionals in private sector companies.

“The job market of 2007 showed resilience amidst economic uncertainties and produced north of 1.3 million new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.com. “Looking forward, plans for hiring are tracking below last year’s projections, but point to continued job creation. Thirty-two percent of employers CareerBuilder.com surveyed plan to add full-time, permanent employees in 2008, down from 40 percent who planned to do so in 2007. Employers are taking caution in the New Year, anticipating the advent of a slower, but still steady hiring environment.”

Thirty-two percent of employers plan to increase their number of full-time, permanent employees in 2008. Eight percent plan to decrease staff levels in 2008 while 47 percent expect no change. Thirteen percent are unsure.

Twenty-one percent of employers plan to increase their number of part-time employees in 2008, down from 23 percent who expected to do so in 2007. Six percent plan to decrease headcount in 2008 while 58 percent expect no change and 15 percent are unsure.

Hiring By Industry
Comparing select industries, solid job creation in Professional and Business Services and Information Technology is expected to carry into the coming year. Forty-five percent of employers in these sectors plan to add full-time, permanent employees in 2008, followed by 37 percent of employers in Transportation and Utilities, 34 percent in Financial Services and 32 percent in Hospitality. Healthcare and Retail employers are also planning to expand staffs at 28 percent each.

Hiring By Region
Staff expansions are expected to remain strongest in the South and West in 2008. Thirty-six percent of employers in the South and 34 percent of employers in the West plan to add full-time, permanent employees compared to 31 percent in the Northeast and 28 percent in the Midwest.

“Time-to-hire continues to be a challenge for employers as they struggle with a shortage of qualified candidates,” said Ferguson. “Nearly one-in-five employers report it typically takes them two months or longer to fill their open positions and 40 percent say they currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. Recruitment and retention efforts are becoming increasingly competitive and job seekers are likely to benefit in the New Year in terms of higher paychecks, more allowances for flexible work arrangements, special perks and better career advancement opportunities.”

#1 Bigger Paychecks

Continuing an existing trend designed to attract and keep top talent, employers plan to offer more lucrative compensation packages in the coming year.

– 80 percent of employers report their companies will increase salaries for existing employees in 2008, similar to last year; 64 percent expect to raise salaries by 3 percent or more while 17 percent anticipate increases of 5 percent or more.

– 56 percent of employers expect to increase salaries on initial offers to new employees, up from 49 percent in 2007; 40 percent will raise salaries by 3 percent or more while 17 percent anticipate increases of 5 percent or more.

#2 More Flexible Work Arrangements

Sixty percent of employers report they currently offer flexible schedules to employees and 39 percent plan to provide more flexible work arrangements in 2008 such as:

– Alternate schedules — come in early and leave early or come in later and leave later — 78 percent

– Compressed workweeks — work the same hours, but in fewer days — 38 percent

– Telecommuting options — 33 percent

– Summer hours — 21 percent

– Job sharing — 18 percent

– Sabbaticals — 8 percent

#3 Screening Candidates via the Internet

To ensure they are recruiting the right talent, more employers are leveraging the Internet as a vehicle for screening potential employees.

– 45 percent of employers report they use online search engines and social networking sites to research job candidates.

– Nearly one-in-five (19 percent) say they are likely to start using or increase their use of these resources to research job candidates in 2008.

#4 Rehiring Retirees

Nearly three-in-ten employers (29 percent) report concern over the loss of intellectual capital at their organizations as a large number of Baby Boomers approach retirement age.

– Twenty-one percent say they are likely to rehire retirees from other companies in 2008. Another 14 percent plan to provide incentives for orkers at or approaching retirement age to stay on with the company longer.

– At the same time, workers have expressed interest in postponing retirement. Twenty-three percent of employers report they have received requests from workers approaching retirement age to stay on with their company longer.

#5 Diversity Recruitment

When asked if there is a particular segment of diverse workers they plan to target more aggressively in 2008, employers pointed to Hispanic workers, women, African American workers and mature workers.

– 85 percent of employers report they will be placing the same or greater amount of emphasis on recruiting bilingual candidates in the next 12 months.

– 48 percent said, in addition to English, Spanish is the most important language for bilingual hiring.

#6 Freelance or Contract Hiring

Employers are turning to freelance or contract workers to help support business initiatives as they monitor their pace in recruiting permanent employees.

– Thirty-one percent of employers anticipate working with freelancers or contractors in 2008.

#7 More Comprehensive Healthcare Benefits and Special Perks

In light of rising healthcare costs, nearly one-in-five employers (19 percent) report their companies plan to offer more comprehensive or better health benefits to employees in 2008.

– One-in-ten employers (10 percent) plan to offer more special perks such as bonuses, discounts, company cars, stock options, free childcare, educational reimbursement, transit passes and wellness programs.

#8 Career Advancement

With more than half of workers stating that a company’s ability to offer career advancement is more important than salary, employers are taking action to carve out career paths for employees.

– One-in-four employers (26 percent) are likely to provide more promotions and career advancement opportunities in 2008.


Thirty percent of employers say they increased their headcount in the last three months. Nine percent reduced headcount while 60 percent reported no change and 1 percent were unsure.

Employers are expecting similar results for the upcoming quarter. Twenty-nine percent of employers plan to add employees in Q1 2008. Seven percent will decrease headcount while 60 percent anticipate no change and 5 percent are unsure.

With a large number of annual salary increases taking place in the first quarter, 69 percent of employers expect to raise compensation levels in the next three months. Forty percent estimate the average raise to range between 1 and 3 percent, 27 percent anticipate an average raise of 4 to 10 percent while 2 percent expect raises to be 11 percent or more.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the US by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 3,016 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time; not self-employed; with at least significant involvement in hiring decisions); and 6,704 US employees (employed full-time; not self-employed) ages 18 and over within the US between November 13 and December 3, 2007, respectively. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of U.S. employers, and propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 3,016 and 6,704, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2 and +/- 1.3 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A full methodology is available upon request.

For more information, visit http://www.careerbuilder.com/.

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