Executives Weigh In On First-Quarter Hiring Outlook: Robert Half Professional Employment Report Reveals Increased Recruiting Challenges

Dec 2, 2010 | Corporate Member News

Ten percent of executives interviewed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report (http://www.roberthalf.ca/per) said they plan to increase the number of full-time employees in professional occupations in the first quarter of 2011, while 7 per cent anticipate declines. The resulting net 3 per cent(1) increase in expected hiring activity is down seven points from the fourth-quarter forecast.

Approximately half (49 per cent) of executives said it is at least somewhat challenging for their companies to find skilled professionals, a nine-point increase from the previous quarter. Optimism among executives fell slightly, however, as 80 per cent of respondents said they had at least some confidence in the growth prospects for their companies, down from 86 percent in the fourth-quarter survey. 

Key Findings 

–  A net 3 per cent of executives plan to increase hiring in professional occupations in the first quarter of 2011. 

–  Executives in the finance, insurance, and real estate; and business services sectors will be hiring most actively, with a net 17 per cent and net 12 per cent, respectively, anticipating adding professional staff. 

–  The legal field — law firms, in particular — is once again expected to see the strongest hiring activity, with a net 42 per cent of lawyers interviewed expecting to increase staff levels. 

–  Nearly half (49 per cent) of executives said it is challenging to find skilled professionals today, up nine points from the previous quarter. 

–  A majority (80 per cent) of executives interviewed said they are very or somewhat confident in their companies’ prospects for business growth in the first quarter of 2011. 

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 executives from a variety of fields(2) throughout Canada about their hiring plans and general level of optimism regarding the upcoming quarter.

“While most organisations remain cautious about adding new full-time staff, others that made deep personnel cuts during the downturn likely are concerned they may be missing out on business opportunities by not having a sufficient amount of human resources in place,” said Kathryn Bolt, president of Robert Half International’s Canadian operations. “Currently, a favoured solution for many of these firms is to recruit project or temporary professionals, as this provides overall staff flexibility and the potential to groom these individuals for future full-time roles.”

Professional-Level Hiring — By Industry

Executives in the finance, insurance and real estate; and business services sectors expect the most active hiring of professional-level staff, with a net 17 per cent and net 12 per cent, respectively, of hiring authorities planning to increase personnel levels. The wholesale industry also projected active hiring, with a net 10 per cent of executives expecting to hire in the first quarter of 2011.

Professional-Level Hiring — By Field

Respondents in the legal profession forecast the strongest hiring activity of all fields, with 44 per cent of lawyers projecting staff increases and 2 per cent anticipating declines.

About Robert Half International

Founded in 1948, Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest 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 International has staffing and consulting operations in more than 400 locations worldwide. Find more information at http://www.roberthalf.com/, and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/roberthalf


(1) Net percentages are the percentage of executives projecting increases in full-time employees minus the percentage expecting decreases.

(2) Survey respondents included more than 270 chief financial officers (CFOs); 270 chief information officers (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. 

For further information: Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, [email protected]

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