Report: Employer Outlook 2018

We’ve all heard that the U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest level in over a decade. That’s good news, of course. But as employers, we also know that this is the kind of good news that makes our own jobs just that extra bit tougher.

It’s not just that competition for talent is fierce. We have to contend with a lot of other things, too: whether it’s the economic ups and downs of our respective industries, or the new technologies that are transforming the workplace, leading to demand for new skills while making others obsolete. And these changes cut across every industry, even if the impact isn’t always the same.

So how are employers preparing to face these challenges as we enter 2018? We surveyed 1,000 of them to find out. Let’s take a look at the results.

Get ready for a hiring boom

It turns out that employers are feeling pretty bullish.

How bullish? Well, 61% of respondents told us that they expect to hire more people in 2018 than they did in 2017. By contrast, just 10% of surveyed companies are planning to reduce their rate of hiring, while the rest plan to maintain current levels.

So if you think the hiring landscape is competitive now, just wait a few months.

What’s driving this? A lot of it is coming in response to current or projected business success. 56% of employers told us they are hiring to support business growth, while 31% are hiring for a specific skill and only 13% are replacing lost staff.

Which industries are doing the most (and least) hiring

Most companies in nearly every industry will see a jump in hiring in 2018, but some will be more aggressive than others.

The most active sectors for recruiting are architecture and engineering where 82% plan to hire, IT and telecom companies (75%) and professional services firms (71%).

At the other end of the spectrum we find that just 55% of retail companies and only 41% of educational organizations plan to recruit more people next year.

Comparatively low figures for the retail sector may evoke headlines about the “retail apocalypse.” However, at its Annual Global Retailing Conference this fall, Goldman Sachs reported that 76% of retail companies it surveyed had earnings that beat out their second quarter estimates. And given that retail occupations account for nearly 6% of employment in the US, that’s still a lot of hiring.

We also see differences across the regions, with one in particular racing ahead of the others: the Southwest. Here a full three quarters (75%) of companies are looking to hire more people in 2018.

The good news for recruiters here (at least in urban areas) is that the Southwest is attracting more and more people: Many of the fastest growing metros in the country are in the Southwest or West, according to the BLS. The West, Southeast, and Midwest by contrast have similar hiring expectations at 62%, 61% and 60%, respectively. The Northeast comes in last: here only 57% of companies anticipate hiring increases.

More than 40% of employers worry they won’t get the talent they need

So nearly everyone’s planning on doing more hiring. But when it comes…

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