June 29th, 2012
By: Connie Blaszczyk, Managing Editor, Monster Resource Center
With the national unemployment rate still running high and millions out of work, it seems premature to give the hiring landscape a clean bill of health.
Yet healthy signs of growth can be found in today’s recruitment marketplace. These positive trends are often tempered by a still fragile economy -- and volatile global outlook -- while other sectors remain in a “wait and see” mode.
These varying stages of recovery are reflected in recent stories reported in Monster’s Resource Center.
A Growing Financial Services Industry
The recently-published Financial Services Job Conditions Report from Monster Intelligence shows a recovery for finance and insurance workers emerging from the recession.
The report forecasts continued progress as the industry’s unemployment rate declines while the volume of online job postings increase.
The sector includes a variety of jobs that rank in the top U.S. occupations predicted to add the most new jobs over the next decade. Professions include bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, accountants and auditors.
Topping the list are personal financial advisors, one of the fastest-growing jobs on a percentage basis -- a trend likely driven by an aging population focused on retirement planning.
Beyond this growth, the report cites future challenges for the U.S. financial services industry, including heightened regulation and continued national and global economic pressures.
Small Businesses Trends
Given the often tight margins, it's a significant step for many small businesses to hire a new employee. In the current economic environment, these factors become more complex, says Melanie Berkowitz, Esq.:
While small business lending is down, small business owners are having an easier time getting credit. Meanwhile, some analysts report that hiring is up, while sales are fairly slow. And some small business owners report feeling optimistic. Or maybe they are just less pessimistic.
In other words, it’s been a rollercoaster.
Experts, says Berkowitz, agree that it will take time before unemployment levels drop to pre-recession levels and hiring kicks in. Yet the hiring horizon in the U.S. is brightening.
Small businesses can apply available credit toward capital expenditures such as the purchase of new equipment or larger rental space. Doing so now will make them hire-ready when the economy improves.
Another positive indicator: if consumer spending continues to increase as it has since December, we’ll likely see the trickle down at the small business level, according to Steve Strauss, USA Today small business columnist and author of The Small Business Bible.
As Goes the Staffing Industry…
The staffing industry offers yet another view to assess hiring trends.
And if recent staffing trends continue, healthy growth lies ahead.
John Rossheim summed up the mid-year staffing outlook:
Heading toward the second half of 2012, staffing trends show that agencies are cautiously confident of their prospects in the intermediate term, laying their bets on either economic recovery or a continuation of business uncertainty that argues for broad use of contingent workers. According to the Bureau of Statistics, employment in contingent staffing, otherwise known as temporary services, grew 8.7 percent over the 12 months ending in April, compared with a gain of just 3.5 percent for professional and business services overall.
The upside for hiring: a greater number of qualified professionals are moving from temp to permanent jobs. Rossheim adds that the uncertain business environment and rising costs for full-time employees are driving the adoption of temp to perm workers.
In speaking with industry experts, one representative proposed his own litmus test for the kind of structural change that could signal a new stage of staffing growth.
“Now about 1.8 percent of the nonfarm labor force is temporary and contact labor,” says Steve Berchem, chief operating officer of the American Staffing Association in Alexandria, Va. “If we exceed the previous peak of about 2 percent, we’ll know there’s been a structural shift to the use of more contingent labor.”