Slow, but steady. That’s the prediction for job growth in 2008 from CareerBuilder. The largest job board in the U.S. says about a third of the hiring managers and HR professionals it surveyed expect to be adding new, permanent workers. Just under half say they expect no change.
Released today, CareerBuilder’s “2008 Job Forecast” report more or less tracks with a forecast issued earlier this month by Manpower. The staffing firm’s “Employment Outlook” found 60 percent of the employers it surveyed expect no hiring increase, 22 percent did. While the numbers don’t match because the methodologies are different, both surveys point to continued recruiting challenges in 2008.
CareerBuilder found that 27 percent of the survey respondents complained that the quality of job applicants had declined since last year, which may explain why 40 percent of employers have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. The “Job Forecast” identified eight recruitment and retention trends for 2008:
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- Bigger paychecks say 80 percent of the survey respondents. Of those expecting to increase wages, 64 percent say it will be at least 3 percent; 17 percent say 5 percent or more. Hot prospects can expect to see bumps in their initial offers over last year.
- Flexible work arrangements are on the rise. Sixty percent of employers offer flexible work plans now – typically shifted start and quit times or condensed work weeks or telecommuting; 39 percent expect to offer some form of flex-time in 2008.
- Online candidate screening will grow, and not just the use of qualifying pre-app questions, but full-blown searching of social networking sites and search engine checks.
- Boomerangs and retiree hires will increase as companies feel the steady pressure from the loss of more and more experienced workers. The numbers here aren’t large, but this is trend that won’t go away, especially since the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of workers over 54 will grow rapidly over the next few years while the number of young workers entering the labor force will decline.
- Recruiting diversity workers, especially those bi-lingual in Spanish, will continue to be an important focus of recruiters. Survey respondents specifically mentioned Latinos, women, African Americans, and mature workers.
- Contract workers will continue to be a key part of the workforce mix for 31 percent of the companies responding to the survey.
- Perks and benefits will get more attention from companies who want to remain competitive in attracting and keeping workers. Despite the trend to shift premium costs to workers (which is likely to continue, although it was not specifically surveyed by CareerBuilder) one-in-five employers say they plan to offer more comprehensive or better health benefits. Ten percent will enhance or add perks.
- 26 percent of the surveyed companies are likely to provide more promotions and career advancement opportunities in 2008, according to CareerBuilder.