Hiring forecast: Executive optimism remains high; some see recruiting challenges

Thirteen per cent of executives interviewed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report said they plan to increase the number of full-time employees in professional occupations in the third quarter, and 5 per cent anticipate declines. The net 8 per cent(1) increase is down from the prior quarter's forecast but continues a trend of hiring outpacing staff reductions. Eighty-five per cent of respondents expressed confidence in growth prospects for their companies.

Fifty-one per cent of executives, including those not planning to hire in the next three months, said they are concerned about their ability to find the right talent to fit their needs when the time comes. This response is up three points from last quarter.

Key Findings
  • Eighty-five per cent of executives said they are confident in their organizations' ability to grow in the third quarter.
  • A net 8 per cent of executives plan to increase hiring in professional occupations in the third quarter of 2010.
  • Among industries, executives in the manufacturing and finance, insurance and real estate sectors plan to do the most hiring, with a net 25 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, projecting hiring increases.
  • The legal field is expected to see the strongest hiring activity, with a net 38 per cent of respondents planning to increase staff levels.
  • More than half of executives (51 per cent)(2) said it is challenging to find skilled professionals today.

The Robert Half Professional Employment Report is the first quarterly executive survey of its size and scope to focus exclusively on professional-level hiring. The survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 Canadian executives from a variety of fields(3) about their hiring plans and general level of optimism regarding the upcoming quarter.

"Most companies remain optimistic about their third-quarter growth prospects," says Kathryn Bolt, president of Robert Half International's Canadian operations. "As we emerge from the downturn, many organizations looking to take advantage of prospective business opportunities will likely need additional talent in a variety of disciplines."

Survey results also showed that, despite high unemployment levels, many companies are discovering that locating the precise talent required can be challenging. "Temporary, project and consulting arrangements continue to be a favoured strategy for many companies looking for both a flexible staffing solution and the opportunity to evaluate potential candidates for full-time roles," Bolt says.

Professional-level hiring – by industry
Executives in the manufacturing and finance, insurance and real estate sectors anticipate the most professional-level hiring in the third quarter, with a net 25 per cent and net 20 per cent, respectively, projecting increases in personnel levels.

Professional-level hiring – by field
Respondents in the legal profession forecast the strongest hiring activity of all fields, with 40 per cent of lawyers projecting staff increases and 2 per cent anticipating declines. Executives in the advertising and marketing fields also project above average hiring with a net 13 per cent of hiring managers anticipating staff augmentations.

Founded in 1948, Robert Half International,  a global specialized staffing firm, is a recognized leader in professional staffing services. The company's specialized staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively, in the fields of accounting and finance; OfficeTeam, for highly skilled temporary administrative support personnel; Robert Half Technology, for information technology professionals; Robert Half Legal, for legal personnel; and The Creative Group, for advertising, marketing and web design professionals. Robert Half has 360 staffing locations worldwide. Find more information at www.roberthalf.ca, and follow us on Twitter.

(1) Net percentages equal the projected increase in full-time employees minus the expected decrease.
(2) Respondents to this question included a total of 900 chief financial officers (CFOs), chief  information officers (CIOs), lawyers, and advertising and marketing executives.
(3) Survey respondents included more than 270 CFOs; 270 CIOs; 150 senior human resources managers; 50 lawyers at law firms and 50 corporate lawyers; and 50 advertising executives and 200 marketing executives within Canada who have hiring authority.