Companies will be ringing in the New Year with more job openings, according to CareerBuilder’s annual job forecast. More than one third of employers expect to add full-time, permanent employees in 2015, the best outlook from the survey since 2006. Salary increases – including raises for minimum wage workers – are also on the agenda of hiring managers.
“The U.S. job market is turning a corner as caution gives way to confidence,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “Hiring in 2014 was broad-based, including encouraging activity among small businesses and hard-hit sectors like manufacturing and construction. The amount of companies planning to hire in 2015 is up 12 percentage points over last year, setting the stage for a more competitive environment for recruiters that may lend itself to some movement in wages.”
The national survey was conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll from November 4 to December 2, 2014, and included a representative sample of 2,192 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries. Here are some highlights:
- Full-time, Permanent Hiring
Thirty-six percent of employers plan to increase full-time, permanent headcount in 2015, a significant jump from 24 percent last year when employers were more hesitant to expand their workforce. Nine percent expect to decrease staff levels, an improvement from 13 percent last year, while 48 percent anticipate no change and 8 percent are unsure. The percentages of employers hiring full-time, permanent employees in Information Technology (54 percent), Financial Services (42 percent), Manufacturing (41 percent) and Health Care1 (38 percent) are expected to outperform the national average.
- Hot Areas for Hiring
Hiring for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) occupations will continue to be strong with 31 percent of hiring managers planning to create jobs in these areas over the next 12 months, up from 26 percent last year. Looking at specific functions within an organization, positions tied to revenue growth, innovation and customer loyalty will dominate in terms of new opportunities. Among employers planning to add full-time, permanent staff, the top five areas they are hiring for include:
- Sales – 36 percent
- Customer Service – 33 percent
- Information Technology – 26 percent
- Production – 26 percent
- Administrative – 22 percent
- Companies also expect to add more headcount in emerging fields. Examples include:
- Cloud, mobile or search technology
- Cyber security
- Managing and interpreting Big Data
- Alternative energy sources
- Temporary and Contract Hiring
Temporary employment is expected to pick up over the next 12 months as employers struggle to fill in-demand roles and strive to maintain more flexibility in their workforce. Forty-six percent of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2015, up from 42 percent last year. Of these employers, 56 percent plan to transition some temporary or contract workers into full-time, permanent roles.
- Five Trends to Watch in the New Year
- Minimum Wage Increasing – At the center of one of the most debated issues of the year, minimum wage workers may be earning bigger paychecks going forward. Forty-five percent of employers expect to raise the minimum wage within their organizations in 2015. Of these employers, half (53 percent) will raise it by $2 or more per hour while one-third (32 percent) will raise it by $3 or more. Forty-seven percent will limit the increase to $1 or less.
The majority of employers (69 percent) said they will pay $10 or more per hour while 39 percent will pay $12 or more. Nearly one in five (18 percent) will pay $15 or more.
- Small Businesses Ramping Up – While still the most cautious when it comes to expanding staffs, small businesses are planning to have extra hands on deck to meet increased market demands. Twenty-nine percent of small businesses with 250 or fewer employees expect to add full-time, permanent employees, up from 22 percent last year. Seven percent will downsize, an improvement from 9 percent last year.
- Education Requirements Becoming Stricter – As roles within organizations become more complex and data-driven, hiring managers have adjusted requirements for their job openings. Twenty-eight percent of companies say they’re now hiring workers with master’s degrees for positions that had been primarily held by workers with four-year degrees. Thirty-seven percent are now hiring workers with college degrees for those that had been primarily held by workers with high school diplomas – 65 percent of these employers attributed this to the skills required for positions evolving within their firms.
- Part-time Jobs Increasing – Twenty-three percent of employers expect to recruit part-time works over the next 12 months, up six percentage points over last year. While various factors will influence this trend, 14 percent of all employers stated they will likely hire more part-time workers in 2015 due to the Affordable Care Act.
- Cubicle Walls Coming Down – Employers subscribe to different schools of thought on what creates the most productive and collaborative work environment, with some leaning toward eliminating any physical barriers. Thirteen percent of employers reported that their companies are implementing an open space floor plan with no cubicle walls in 2015.
- Hiring By Region
Confidence in hiring is consistent across regions with the South reporting the biggest year-over-year increase (14 percentage points) in the amount of employers planning to add full-time, permanent staff. Thirty-six percent of employers in the South and West will recruit new full-time, permanent employees in 2015 followed by 35 percent of employers in the Northeast and Midwest. Eleven percent of employers in the West anticipate they will downsize staffs, on par with last year, and the highest percentage of all the regions.
- Compensation in 2014
Wage growth has been largely stagnant post-recession, but greater employment demand may help to boost compensation at various levels within an organization. Eighty-two percent of employers plan to increase compensation for existing employees – up from 73 percent last year – while 64 percent will offer higher starting salaries for new employees – up from 49 percent last year. Sales and Information Technology professionals are the most likely to receive raises, though increases are expected for a variety of job functions.