Professional-Level Hiring to Remain Steady; Executives Confident About Growth Prospects
A net 5% of executives interviewed for The Robert Half Professional Employment Report said they expect to add full-time, professional-level employees in the second quarter of 2011. Nine percent plan to increase staff, while 4% anticipate declines. The net 5% projected increase is unchanged from the first-quarter survey, with most respondents, 86%, expecting to maintain current personnel levels.
While staffing levels are expected to remain consistent among most organizations, two fields saw quarter-over-quarter gains: marketing and sales/business development. The net hiring projection for each area increased by five points from the first-quarter outlook.
Across all fields, most executives remain optimistic about the future of their companies. Nearly all respondents (86%) said they were confident in their firms’ growth prospects; four in 10 (40%) are very confident.
The Robert Half Professional Employment Report is the first quarterly executive survey of its size and scope to focus exclusively on professional-level hiring. The survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 4,000 executives from a variety of fields¹ throughout the United States about their hiring plans and general level of optimism regarding the upcoming quarter.
“While some firms remain conservative in their hiring outlook, others are finding they need to add staff to maintain adequate service levels,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “The need for marketing and business-development professionals could be an indication companies are anticipating business improvement and renewed demand for their products and services.”
Survey respondents in the Mountain states predict the strongest hiring activity, with a net 11% of executives interviewed planning to add staff. “Improving business and consumer confidence in many areas of the Mountain region is stimulating the hiring of professional-level employees, particularly in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors,” Messmer noted. “Companies in these states are increasing their use of temporary-to-full-time arrangements as a way to evaluate prospective new hires.”
Wholesale companies expect the most active hiring of any industry in the second quarter, with a net 15% of executives expecting to make staff additions. “As consumer demand steadily builds, wholesale firms need staff who can help manage the increased business volume,” said Brett Good, a Robert Half International district president. “In particular, companies are hiring employees to assist with financial transactions, such as accounts payable and receivable specialists and billing professionals.” Executives in the retail sector also anticipate above-average hiring activity. A net 9% of retail executives said they plan to add staff.
As they have for the past five quarters, respondents in the legal profession forecast the strongest hiring activity of all fields. Twenty-nine percent of lawyers interviewed for the report projected staff increases and none anticipated declines.