More firms plan to hire in 2011, survey says

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Dec. 29, 2010 at 7:36 a.m.

More firms said they plan to hire full-time, permanent workers in 2011 than did this year, but wage growth likely will remain modest, according to data released Wednesday by job site

Almost one-quarter of employers — 24 percent — said they plan to hire full-time, permanent workers in 2011. That compares with 20 percent this year, and 14 percent in 2009, according to’s survey in late November of more than 2,400 hiring managers and human-resource professionals.

“There is a higher level of optimism going into 2011″ among employers and staffing firms, said Jennifer Grasz, spokeswoman for “There is more confidence.”

With an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent and weak job growth, it may seem improbable that more employers plan to add workers. But recent data point to continued, though modest, economic growth into 2011.

That said, concern about jobs is persistent.

Seven percent of employers said they plan to decrease workers in 2011, down from 9 percent this year and 16 percent last year, according to the survey. Meanwhile, 58 percent expect no change in the level of staff, and 11 percent are unsure.’s results echo other recent data. Earlier in December, Manpower, a Milwaukee-based employment-services firm, reported that employers’ hiring plans for the upcoming first quarter are “the most promising” they’ve been in more than two years, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

A seasonally adjusted net 9 percent of firms said they expect to hire in the first quarter–the largest percentage since the fourth quarter of 2008–up from 5 percent in the fourth quarter, according to Manpower.

When it comes to compensation, though, some workers may be disappointed, Grasz said. While 61 percent of employers said they will increase compensation for existing staff in 2011, up from 57 percent this year, most estimate that the average raise will be 3 percent at most.

“What I think is encouraging is that the majority of employers say they will increase compensation for existing staff,” Grasz said. “But those raises are probably going to be within that 3 percent range. I think for workers, they would hope they would see a higher raise going into the new year.”

Indeed, with a persistently high unemployment rate, economists say workers have little negotiating power when it comes to wages. Details For 2011 Hiring

Among firms that expect to increase full-time, permanent workers in 2011, here are the top areas, by function: sales, information technology, customer service, engineering, technology, administrative, business development, marketing, research/development, and accounting/finance. Grasz noted the strong presence of revenue-producing positions.

“Sales–those are individuals that drive top-line growth for an organization. They help you increase your share of a customer’s wallet,” Grasz said. “Customer services–those are folks that keep customers loyal and happy.”

Hiring for part-time and temporary workers is also gaining, according to In the next 12 months, 13 percent of firms said they expect to hire part-time employees, up from 11 percent this year and 9 percent last year.

“It gives [ employers 3/] the ability to really have an extended job interview with these workers,” Grasz said.

Meanwhile, 34 percent of hiring managers said they will hire contract or temporary workers, supplementing leaner staffs. That rate is up from 30 percent in 2010 and 28 percent in 2009.

“You see people talking about transitioning their contract and temporary workers into full-time employees,” Grasz said.

By region, 26 percent of hiring managers in the West said they plan to add full-time, permanent workers, compared with 24 percent in the Northeast, and 23 percent in both the Midwest and South.

By company size, 30 percent of firms with more than 250 employees plan to increase full-time, permanent workers next year. That compares with 27 percent of employers with 51 to 250 employees, and 14 percent with 50 or fewer employees.

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