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After a few years of tough economic times and stalled employment opportunities, it seems that 2012 is showing signs of growth.

CareerBuilder’s mid-year job forecast surveyed more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals in different industries nationwide and gathered overall positive results. The report, released last month, found that 44 percent of private sector employers plan to hire full-time, permanent staff from July 1 to December 31, 2012, a 9 percent increase from the 2011 forecast. This is good news for people seeking employment, as well as employers who are focused on active talent management and development.

“Two years ago, the hiring activity in the U.S. was driven primarily by large employers recruiting in metropolitan areas for a handful of industries or job functions,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “Today, we see job listings in all industries, market sizes and company sizes. The outlook for the remainder of the year is better than 2011, but it will follow the same pattern of steady progress rather than a surge in job growth. Employers will remain careful as they assess barriers and opportunities for growth in the economy and their own businesses.”

Highlights From the Survey

All categories of hiring have increased since 2011.

  • Hiring full-time, permanent employees – 44 percent, up from 35 percent in 2011
  • Hiring part-time employees – 21 percent, up from 15 percent in 2011
  • Hiring contract or temporary employees – 21 percent, up from 12 percent in 2011

Small businesses are gradually starting to hire more, though companies with fewer employees still tend to be more cautious.

  • 50 or fewer employees – 21 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 20 percent in 2011
  • 250 or fewer employees – 31 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 26 percent in 2011
  • 500 or fewer employees – 34 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, up from 27 percent in 2011

Employment opportunities are more available in big cities or nearby areas. Of the hiring managers who are looking for new employees, 75 percent report they will be recruiting in large metropolitan areas and 39 percent will be hiring in non-metropolitan, rural areas.

The top growth areas for hiring and talent development are:

  • Customer Service – 24 percent
  • Information Technology – 22 percent
  • Sales – 21 percent
  • Administrative – 16 percent
  • Business Development – 13 percent
  • Accounting/Finance – 12 percent
  • Marketing – 11 percent

Employers are also creating new positions to meet the changing needs of their businesses. The following jobs are new within the last five years:

  • Positions related to social media – 16 percent
  • Positions related to storing and managing data – 15 percent
  • Positions related to online security – 12 percent
  • Positions related to financial regulation – 10 percent
  • Positions related to promoting diversity inside and outside the organization – 9 percent
  • Positions related to green energy and the environment – 8 percent
  • Positions related to global relations – 8 percent

Employees are slightly more likely to leave their current jobs in the next 12 months, up to 27 percent from 26 percent in 2011, but competition to hire and keep top-notch employees is increasing.

  • 39 percent of employers say they are concerned top talent will leave their companies, up from 35 percent last year
  • 21 percent report they lost top performers in the second quarter, up from 18 percent last year and 19 percent last quarter

Takeaways for Hiring Managers

This research is important if you are in charge of seeking out and retaining talent in your company. The upside is that as the economy becomes more stable, you may find your organization has the budget and the need to hire new employees. The downside is that as more employers begin to hire again, you run the risk of losing your best employees to other job opportunities. These are crucial factors to keep in mind in the coming year:

  1. Remember that talent development and retention are just as important as hiring. Make sure employee engagement, training and development is an ongoing priority.
  2. Think strategically when you hire for new positions and start with the jobs that are likely to facilitate revenue, innovation and stability (for example, sales, business development and technology).
  3. Take your time hiring new employees who fit your company culture and fill the roles you need to grow. Making hasty hiring decisions can waste precious time, money and resources.

Is your company planning to hire in the next six months? In which position?

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