Global Jobs Outlook: Cautious Hiring Despite "Talent Shortage"

June 11, 2009

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A sluggish hiring pace is expected to continue globally in the third quarter of the year, but more employers say they will be holding on to the workers they have, according to the latest quarterly survey by Manpower Inc.

Job seekers around the globe can expect more of the same sluggish hiring pace in the third quarter of 2009 as during the first half of the year, although a greater percentage of employers worldwide are saying they will hold on to the staff they have, according to Manpower Inc.'s latest global Employment Outlook Survey.

Employers in all countries and territories surveyed are reporting weaker year-over-year forecasts. Those in 22 locales have negative outlooks and 17 are reporting their weakest hiring plans since the survey was established more than 45 years ago.

"Across Europe, we are seeing a continued weaker appetite for employees in the manufacturing sector," Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc., said in a statement. "In fact, in Europe's largest economy, the percentage of German manufacturers expecting layoffs rose nine percent compared to the previous quarter."

The further deterioration of job prospects in manufacturing across Continental Europe has contributed to German employers' first negative hiring forecast in three years.

However, employers in 11 of 34 countries and territories surveyed anticipate some positive hiring activity in the coming quarter. Although weaker than historical patterns — weakest in Ireland, Spain, Greece, Romania, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom — third-quarter hiring plans are strongest in India, Norway, Poland, Peru, Singapore and Taiwan.

"Compared to three months ago, a greater percentage of the world's employers are telling us they will make no changes to their workforces, suggesting that the worst could be behind us," Joerres said.

International Employment Outlook Comparisons Manpower_Inc_Q3_2009_Employment_Outlook_Global.jpg

Across the eight countries surveyed in the Americas region, hiring expectations are weaker compared to three months ago in five countries. However, compared to one year ago, hiring plans are weaker across all of the Americas countries surveyed by Manpower.

In the United States, the employment outlook remains unchanged from the second quarter, with the rate of labor market contraction expected to level off in the quarter ahead. U.S. employers plan to keep their staffing levels relatively stable during Q3 2009, according to the seasonally adjusted results of Manpower's latest Employment Outlook Survey. Based on additional data, the hiring picture for Q2 2009 was revised to -2 percent, the same as Q3 2009, to account for seasonal variations.

"The data shows continued hesitancy among employers," Jonas Prising, president of the Americas for Manpower, said in a statement. "They are treading slowly and watching with guarded optimism, hoping a few quarters of stability will be the precursor to the recovery."

More than 28,000 employers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico were surveyed about their hiring plans for Q3 2009. Among these: 15 percent foresee an increase in hiring activity; 13 percent expect a decrease in staff levels during the third quarter; 67 percent anticipate no change in the hiring pace; and 5 percent are undecided about their July-September hiring intentions.

The national survey data for the U.S. shows employers in seven of the 13 sectors surveyed expect hiring to remain relatively stable between Q2 and Q3 of the year.

U.S. National Sector Comparisons Manpower_US_employment_national_sector_comparisons.jpg

"In the U.S., the cautious hiring pace will remain a challenge for job seekers as employers continue to adjust and align their workforces throughout the year to ride out this downturn and prepare for growth on the other side," according to Joerres.

Less than two weeks prior to the release of its quarterly employment outlook, Manpower announced the results of its fourth annual talent shortage survey, revealing that 30 percent of employers around the world continue to struggle to fill positions available despite the global economic downturn.

Employers having the most difficulty finding the right people to fill jobs are those in Romania (62 percent), Taiwan (62 percent), Peru (56 percent), Japan (55 percent), Australia (49 percent), Costa Rica (48 percent) and Poland (48 percent). The talent shortage appears to be least problematic in Ireland (5 percent), Spain (8 percent), the U.K. (11 percent), China (15 percent) and the Czech Republic (17 percent).

Top 10 Hard-to-Fill Jobs Across 33 Countries/Territories in 2009 Compared to 2008 (Ranked in Order)
In the Americas, the talent shortage survey shows that 36 percent of the region's employers are having difficulty filling positions due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets. This is an increase of eight percentage points when compared to the 2008 survey and is six percentage points greater than the global average.

Vacancies for technicians are the most difficult to fill in the Americas for the second consecutive year. After not appearing among the top 10 hard-to-fill positions in the 2008 survey, employers are identifying Accounting & Finance positions as the third most difficult to fill.

The 10 hardest jobs to fill, as reported by U.S. employers for 2009, are:

  1. Engineers
  2. Nurses
  3. Skilled/Manual Trades
  4. Teachers
  5. Sales Representatives
  6. Technicians
  7. Drivers
  8. IT Staff
  9. Laborers
  10. Machinist/Machine Operators
Even with unemployment at or near record levels in many communities, Manpower's research highlights the problem many employers claim to be having finding individuals with the right combination of job-specific skills, experience, training and soft skills.

"While talk has slowed in the U.S. about the pending talent shortage, it is becoming more clear that there is a talent disconnect," Melanie Holmes, vice president, world of work solutions for Manpower North America, said in a statement.

A new annual index released this week by Deloitte LLP and The Manufacturing Institute shows that while Americans view manufacturing as "the most important industry for a strong national economy," they are not pursuing careers in manufacturing. The survey, Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing, found that while 71 percent of respondents said they view manufacturing as a national priority, only 17 percent named manufacturing as among their top two industry choices to start a career and only 30 percent of parents said they would encourage their children to pursue jobs in manufacturing.

According to an announcement of the findings:

Despite more than a year of bad news as the manufacturing sector continues to contract [...] Americans view manufacturing as the most important industry for a strong national economy. There is a wide perception gap, however, between the public's highly positive views of manufacturing's contributions to America's economic success and their negative views about pursuing a career in manufacturing.
"This survey sheds light on a massive disconnect we are facing in manufacturing," Emily DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute, said.

According to a Manpower whitepaper late last month, a strong employer brand will help organizations attract and retain the best talent; and therefore enable them to win during these challenging times and achieve their growth plans.

"By focusing now on building their employer brands and enhancing their appeal to talented workers with scarce and vital skills, organizations can position themselves to win lasting competitive advantage in the talent marketplace," the whitepaper The Global Talent Crunch: Why Employer Branding Matters Now reports.


Manpower Employment Outlook Survey - Global Manpower, Inc., June 9, 2009

Global Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Reveals Continued Weak Hiring Ahead... Manpower, Inc., June 9, 2009

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey - United States Manpower, Inc., June 9, 2009

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Indicates U.S. Hiring Pace is Still Sluggish Manpower, Inc., June 9, 2009

2009 Talent Shortage Survey Results Manpower, Inc., May 28, 2009

Manpower Inc. Annual Survey Reveals Talent Shortages Continue Despite Current Economic Environment Manpower, Inc., May 28, 2009

Manpower's Annual 10 Hardest Jobs To Fill Survey Finds Four Years of Similar Data Points to Gaps in the U.S. Workforce Manpower, Inc., May 28, 2009

Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing Deloitte LLP / The Manufacturing Institute, June 9, 2009

Manufacturing Ranked No. 1 Industry for Economic Prosperity Deloitte LLP / The Manufacturing Institute, June 9, 2009

The Global Talent Crunch: Why Employer Branding Matters Now Manpower, Inc., May 28, 2009

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