Companies Not Hiring, Workers Not Looking As Economy Falters

The ranks of passive jobseekers are growing as workers decide now is not the time to look for a new job.  Many, in fact, are considering taking classes to improve their job prospects, while 41 percent told pollsters they intend to stay in their present job until they retire. Another 38 percent said they expected to hold onto their current job for at least another year.

Wise decisions, considering that only 23 percent of the companies surveyed intend to add full time workers in the next three months.

These are some of the findings reported in and USA TODAY’s “Q4 2008 Job Forecast” released today. The report was based on a survey of more than 3,000 hiring managers and HR professionals and over 6,100 workers in private sector companies nationwide.

The number of companies saying they would be hiring in the last quarter of this year is 8 percent lower than the 25 percent who reported adding staff between July 1 and today. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive between August 21 and September 9, also found that 14 percent of companies had layoffs during the third quarter. That was 40 percent more than the number predicted in the “Q3 2008 Job Forecast,” a sign, perhaps of the worsening economy.

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In fact, in a footnote to the forecast released today, CareerBuilder warns “The ‘Q4 2008 Job Forecast’ survey was conducted before the full financial crisis became known and so may not fully reflect the effects of that crisis.” That helps explain why the survey again found that only ten percent of the companies expected layoffs in the fourth quarter; 63 percent expect no change in their permanent, full time headcount.

“Employers are maintaining a conservative approach to recruitment as they maneuver through a weaker economy that has produced its share of casualties,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of “Certain sectors such as IT and Healthcare are still showing solid job growth while others struggle with reorganization, cost containment and other measures to stay afloat.”

The widespread corporate caution toward hiring presents opportunities for recruiters who, in most industries, will have less competition. The 3rd quarter forecast found that while most companies were not taking advantage of the talent inventory to make changes in their workforce, 26.4 percent were using the opportunity to replace low performers with new talent. Of course, sourcing candidates will be more challenging given that almost 80 percent of workers do not expect to make a job change in the next year. That may be why 24 percent of the HR professionals and hiring managers reported open positions they have been unable to fill.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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