Healthy Hiring Forecast
Forty-seven percent of US hiring managers plan to add staff in the late summer and early fall, while only 13 percent plan to reduce staff, according to a survey by jobsite CareerBuilder.com. "While some employers are proceeding with caution in terms of recruitment plans, others are expecting an uptick in hiring," notes website CEO Matt Ferguson. He points out that one-third of hiring managers are planning to allocate more money for recruiting between now and the end of 2006 than they spent so far this year. While half of hiring managers plan to hire fewer than ten new employees, 30 percent expect to add more than 20 staffers and 20 percent expect to add more than 50. Leading sectors for job prospects include healthcare, sales, customer service, information technology, retail and accounting/finance. In addition, recruitment for professional and technical workers will remain strong. Fifteen percent of companies are looking to fill management positions, while 16 percent plan to hire for administrative and clerical positions. Where do managers look for qualified applicants? Twenty-eight percent use online resources, 23 percent use newspaper classifieds, 19 percent rely on employee referrals, and 10 percent use professional recruiters. No matter which method they employ, hiring managers are continuing to struggle with finding qualified candidates. Twenty-two percent said it takes them one to two months to fill a position, 11 percent spend two to three months, and 10 percent take even longer.
Inflation May Consume That Raise
Modest pay raises this year will probably be eaten up by inflation. That’s the word from a recent study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, which found that US employers are planning to increase base salaries by an average of 3.7 percent this year, slightly higher than the 3.6 percent reported in 2005. The study found that companies are relying less on salary increases and more on incentives like year-end bonuses to retain employees without boosting fixed costs. "Once I give you a salary increase, it sticks. But with incentives, you have to re-earn it every year," declares Steven Gross, an employee compensation specialist at Mercer. "Companies are very reticent about fixed costs these days." If the Mercer projections play out, workers’ wages could fall behind creeping inflation. The Labor Department’s overall Consumer Price Index in the second quarter, pushed higher by record energy prices, and is on pace for a 4.7 percent rise for 2006, more than a point higher than 2005. Average raises are expected to stay at 3.7 percent in 2007.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – US firms are cutting back on layoffs. A total of 180,580 staff reductions were announced in the second quarter, compared to 255,878 in the first three months of this year. The tech sector in particular grew more stable, thanks to a resurgence in consumer technology spending and the expansion of Internet applications. Job cuts in the sector – which includes telecommunications, computers, electronics and e-commerce – fell to less than 30,000, down from almost 40,000 in the previous quarter, their lowest level since the summer of 2000 . . . A majority of Fortune 500 companies now offer domestic-partner benefits to their lesbian/gay/bisexual and transgender employees, and 86 percent officially prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to a new report by the Human Rights Commission . . . Lucent Technologies, a global leader in telecom equipment that agreed to be acquired by Alcatel of France earlier this year, announced it will cut 9000 employees as part of the merger . . . High-tech wages continued to climb in the second quarter. The Yoh Index of Technology Wages shows a 1.7 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago.
STATEWIDE – The heat wave that hit the state last week prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to enact new regulations that make California the first state in the nation to require employers to provide water at work sites, shaded areas and training so everyone can spot the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. Similar regulations were adopted on a temporary basis last year. The governor’s action makes the rules permanent . . . Most state employees earn modest salaries of less than $50,000 a year, plus a decent pension and other benefits. But 77 earned more than $200,000 a year in 2005, thanks to overtime and other payments, according to records from the state controller.
BAY AREA – Will commuters soon enjoy free rides on public transit in the region? It’s an expensive long shot, but some local leaders were calling for permanent free rides after use of public transit jumped when fares were waived during the spate of "Save the Air" days brought on by the recent heat wave. Free transit would begin to cut congestion, advocates argue.
EAST BAY – The local job market showed no signs of a slowdown in June, as it continued to account for a huge portion of the positions created in the Bay Area and California, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The employment gains in the East Bay are so strong that the region accounted for 55 percent of the new jobs in the entire Bay Area during the 12 months that ended in June. The East Bay also produced 10 percent of the jobs created statewide over the year. The private sector accounted for the bulk of the gains. "The East Bay is looking quite good," notes Howard Roth, chief economist with California’s Department of Finance. "The East Bay is one of the strongest regions in the state."
SACRAMENTO – GeoEngineers Inc, a Redmond, Wash-based engineering firm, will open an office near Cal Expo. Founded in 1980, the company offers geoscience and engineering services. Its local office initially will be staffed by ten employees . . . TwinMed of Santa Fe Springs has leased 40,000 square feet in Natomas. The medical supply distributor, big in Southern California, needed a Northern California outlet.
SAN FRANCISCO – Hotel workers marched through downtown last Thursday in hopes of resolving a two-year dispute with 14 local establishments. While talks have recently resumed, no progress has been made.
WATSONVILLE – Birds Eye Foods will lay off 550 workers when it closes its local frozen food plant by the end of this year. Five other plants nationwide will be sold.
Online Job Matching Meets Older Workers
Eager to plug into their proven work ethic, many companies are starting to actively recruit older workers. To meet that need, online networks are helping match firms with the qualified workers they seek. Among the most popular are SeniorJobBank.com, Dinosaur-Exchange.com, Seniors4Hire.org and YourEncore.com. At such sites, older workers are finding consulting projects and salaried jobs, including engineering, biotech and finance. "I don’t see myself as a retiree," commented a 57-year-old organizational-development expert who helped a company better realize its R&D potential. "It was a great use of my expertise."