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53 Percent of Employers Plan to Hire Over Next Year

CareerBuilder reports that employers expect new job openings, focusing on retention

A majority of U.S. employers plan to hire within the next 12 months, according to a new study released today by CareerBuilder and Robert Half International.

Fifty-three percent of the hiring managers polled reported plans to take-on full-time employees, and 40 percent expect to hire temporary or contract workers. Another 39 percent will seek to part-time staffers, while 23 percent had no hiring plans.

Respondents rated customer service, sales, and marketing functions among the top areas for career opportunity. Technology, public relations/communication, business development, and accounting/finance positions were also cited.

When the economy improves, hiring managers predicted that jobs would be most abundant on the lower rungs of the career ladder, indicating that companies may look internally to fill vacant leadership positions. Almost one-third (32 percent) plan to hire staff-level employees and 28 percent plan to hire entry-level staffers. Manager- (7 percent), director- (2 percent), and executive-levels (1 percent) had the least prospect.

"As U.S. employers look for signs of stabilization in the economy and potential improvement in their business prospects, they are preparing for a renewed, though gradual, expansion of the job market," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.

Despite a weak job market, respondents said it is still a struggle to find qualified candidates, with 47 percent listing it as their greatest hurdle in hiring. Other challenges included convincing qualified candidates to leave a current position (22 percent), too many resumes to sort (18 percent), and over-qualified applicants (14 percent).

"Companies already are identifying the key skill sets they will need in new hires to take advantage of the opportunities presented by improving economic conditions," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, in a statement. "Firms that cut staffing levels too deeply may need to do significant rebuilding once the recovery takes hold."

Although 90 percent of currently employed staffers reported job satisfaction, many will seek new career opportunities once the market picks up, said CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson, in a statement. "Fifty-five percent of workers plan to make a career change, seek out new employers or go back to school once the economic recovery is underway. In addition to competitive pay and benefits, showing a committed investment in the professional development of employees will play a key part in retaining critical talent," he said.

As such, employers will focus on building employee satisfaction and retaining existing personnel. Forty percent of employers said they are willing to provide increased monetary compensation. Better benefits and perks (20 percent), more recognition (11 percent), and a promotion (7 percent) were also cited as strategies to gain loyalty. Sixteen percent said they were not considering any of the above.

When asked what perks would entice them to stay with their current employer, almost half of employees (49 percent) rated a pay increase as their top incentive. Twenty percent cited improvements in benefits and other perks, such as technology upgrades (79 percent), tuition reimbursement or subsidized training (61 percent), and flexible schedules (47 percent). Nine percent would stay if offered a promotion, and four percent noted a desire for more recognition.