2007 Hiring Outlook

Reports on the 2007 hiring outlook can be confusing–and even appear conflicting. This is because whether the outlook is positive or negative depends on any number of factors, including how data gets interpreted, the business sector being covered, and geographic region. So, before you reach any conclusions, remember to:

  1. Examine data carefully.
  2. Pay attention to hiring trends in specific industries and geographic regions.
  3. Know what skills are in demand in the fields that affect your business.

The most recent edition of AIRS RecruitNews links to three articles that explore current hiring trends. One of these is a piece in The Pantagraph, “Jobs, hiring surge beat forecast.”

That headline certainly suggests a positive outlook: “Despite problems in the housing and automotive industries which are contributing to a slowing economy, November labor market news was mostly positive. The US added 132,000 jobs, exceeding the forecast of 105,000.”

But the headline doesn’t tell the whole story. Delving deeper into the article reveals that automotive and housing aren’t the only problem areas. Manufacturing continues to struggle. “Factories sliced jobs for the fifth month in a row,” The Pantagraph reports.

On the other hand, it confirms that the sectors that have been adding jobs are still adding them: “Health-care providers expanded employment by 27,700. Professional and business services, a broad category including accountants, bookkeepers, computer designers, architects and engineers, added 43,000 jobs. Financial firms added 11,000 slots.”

Check out the InformationWeek article, “IT Job Market Best in Five Years, Survey Finds,” as another example. Although a survey conducted by Robert Half Technology, an IT employment service and agency, finds more CIOs expect to hire IT professionals in the first quarter of 2007, some parts of the country are likely to see more hiring activity than others.

“The greatest demand will come from the East South Central area (Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee),” InformationWeek reports. It cites growing demand for IT workers in cities scattered throughout the country as well.

But it’s important to note that not every region is poised for significant hiring growth. A visit to the Robert Half website, where the full report is available, provides a survey breakdown by region. Based on survey responses, New England IT hiring is poised to increase only 3 percent. Hiring in the Mountain and West North Central states is also projected to lag behind other parts of the country.

Finally, there’s the Contra Costa Times article, “Rosy labor report belies job seekers,” which points out how some highly-skilled or educated people can’t land jobs for which they’re supposedly qualified. The article also cites a statistic worth considering: “A report last year by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive research firm, found the economy now produces 25-30% fewer good jobs than it did 25 years ago. The Washington, D.C., group defines this as paying about $32,000 a year with employer-paid health insurance and a pension.”

So, how can you get a handle on the 2007 hiring outlook? Examine data carefully. Pay attention to hiring trends in specific industries and geographic regions. And know what skills are in demand in the fields that affect your business. By looking at these pieces, the outlook should be less puzzling.

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Adapted from AIRS

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Sandra Schwan

Sandra Schwan

Managing Partner at Evolving Strategies LLC
Sandra is the Managing Partner of Evolving Strategies LLC, a consulting firm helping companies and people learn, adapt and perform. Sandra holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Learning and Strategic Organizational Change from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. Previous employers include the Corporate Executive Board, Lante Corporation, Kensington International, and Accenture where Sandra was awarded mentor of the year.

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