The good news: The hiring outlook for the year ahead by U.S. employers is the best it’s been in about a decade.
The good-as-it-gets news: Four in 10 employers expect to hire full-time, “permanent” employees.
The hard-to-find-any-good-in-it news: Most employees who have felt overworked for years aren’t likely to get relief.
Three-fourths of employers included in the annual CareerBuilder hiring outlook, based on a Harris Poll taken in November and December, said their enterprises are in better financial position than a year ago. But that hasn’t trickled down to robust payroll expansion.
More than half of employers said they expected to add temporary or contract workers, a continued sign of economic caution. It’s simply easier to add or subtract temps than to hire or fire employees. It’s also easier to scope out temp talent for possible hiring later than to find out a new hire is a bad fit.
According to what employers said, part of the hiring caution is that they can’t find people with the right talents. Matt Ferguson, CareerBuilder CEO, suggested that employers could bridge the perceived talent gaps “by either offering better wages or by helping to re-skill and up-skill workers.”
Indeed, slightly more than half of employers said they were willing to train workers who didn’t have the requested experience – an improvement from the dark days of the recession and post-recession when employers eliminated training budgets and sought only already-perfect candidates.
In some of the top recruiting fields – notably information technology, customer service, production, sales and administrative support – employers indicated pressure to offer higher pay. But overall, only three in 10 employers planned to raise initial pay offers by 5 percent or more than last year.
The data aren’t particularly promising for pay raises for existing workers or for those who are hoping for more co-workers to share the load. A relative handful of companies are going great guns on hiring, but most are being surgically precise in adding staff.
Crucial needs typically include hiring for social media skills or highly specific technical expertise. A lot of unhappy job hunters and employees who feel stuck in their jobs simply don’t fit employers’ current openings.
That isn’t to say the “stuck” aren’t good workers. Many are excellent, and they’ve worked hard for years in do-more-with-less environments. Career counselors note that such workers appear resigned to being stuck, and they’re afraid to complain about excessive workloads or paltry pay increases.
If “overburdened” sounds like you, here is best-case advice: Approach your supervisors with a well-reasoned and researched suggestion framed in what is good for the organization, not for yourself.
Management doesn’t care if you feel overworked as much as they care about getting the job done. Your idea for adding help or taking something off your plate has to promise big-picture efficiency.