CareerBuilder's annual forecast shows that 44% of employers plan on hiring full-time, permanent employees in the New Year, and half (51%) will hire temporary employees, but the most pressing question remains: How quickly can they fill those roles, if at all?
Forty-five percent of HR managers currently have jobs they cannot fill because they cannot find qualified talent, and 58% report that they have jobs that stay open for 12 weeks or longer (subset of 273 HR managers).
At the same time, employers will have a harder time holding on to current employees with 40% of workers planning to change jobs in the New Year.
"More job creation, higher voluntary employee turnover, and intensified competition for talent will be the main themes surrounding employment in 2018," says 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."
There is a perfect storm happening in the U.S. labor market.
Five Employer Trends to Watch in the New Year
With companies struggling to get new employees in the door, they are exploring various sources for job candidates and increasing compensation in 2018:
1. Capturing new talent early. Employers will start courting college students early; 64% plan to hire recent college graduates this year.
2. Importing talent. Employers will be looking beyond borders to find talent, with 23% planning to hire workers from other countries to work in the U.S.
3. Re-engaging past employees. Employers will increase outreach to workers who know their business and have a history with them; 39% plan to hire former employees in 2018.
4. 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% of all employers plan to train low-skill workers who don't have experience in their field and hire them for higher-skill jobs.
5. Boosting compensation. While wage gains have not reached desired levels, employers will become more aggressive with compensation levels for in-demand workers; 30% plan to increase starting salaries for new employees by 5% or more while 36% will do the same for existing staff.
Full-time, Permanent Hiring
The number of employers planning to hire full-time, permanent staff in the New Year was similar to last year, increasing four percentage points from 40% in 2017 to 44% in 2018.
Six percent of employers expect a decline in staff levels in 2018, an improvement from 8% last year. Forty-five percent anticipate no change while 5% were unsure.
Hot Areas for Hiring
While employers say 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 adding headcount:
- Jobs tied to skilled labor—30%
- Jobs tied to data analysis—25%
- Jobs tied to digital marketing—17%
- Jobs tied to cybersecurity—15%
- Jobs tied to automation—12%
- Jobs tied to artificial intelligence and machine learning—10%
Temporary and Contract Hiring
The increased reliance on temporary labor will carry over in the New Year as companies work to maintain flexibility in their workforce and test drive candidates for permanent roles.
Fifty-one percent of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2018, on par with last year. Sixty-four percent of these employers plan to transition some temporary or contract workers into permanent roles in 2018.
Hiring by Region
The West and Northeast are leading the regions in the percentage of employers hiring full-time, permanent employees at 49% and 47%, respectively, followed by the South at 45%.
The Midwest continues to lag other regions with 33% of employers planning to hire in the New Year.
Research Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 888 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) and 809 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between Nov. 28 and Dec. 20, 2017. Percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions. With pure probability samples of 888 and 809, one could say with a 95% probability that the overall results have sampling errors of +/- 3.29 and +/-3.45 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.