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Employment Outlook Looking Up

December 14, 2004
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The job market is "decidedly more upbeat" for 2005 than it was at the start of 2004, according to Manpower.

Of the 16,000 U.S. employers surveyed in the quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, 24 percent expect to increase hiring during the first quarter of 2005. Ten percent expect to decrease staff levels.

Manpower says that the Canadian and U.S. employers it surveyed are upbeat. Europe’s a mixed bag. Germany’s employers aren’t as optimistic about hiring, while U.K. companies generally have a positive outlook.

Beyond Manpower’s study, other hiring indicators are also bright.

  • Mark Anderson, president of ExecuNet, a community of senior executives, says that "recruiters continue to grow more bullish on the executive employment market."

  • Corzen, a firm that tracks recruiting metrics, reports a recent increase in the number of human resources jobs posted on Monster, HotJobs and CareerBuilder. Human resources employment is sometimes looked upon as a proxy for the health of the job market in general. Bob Plummer, director of indicator services, says that "there’s a direct correlation between HR postings and the overall increases on Monster, CareerBuilder and, to a certain extent, HotJobs. I don’t think any other category tracks so similarly to the overall gains we’ve seen in 2004." Plummer says that overall "job postings have been very strong on Monster and CareerBuilder" from the second quarter of 2004 until about Thanksgiving of this year, when there was a "seasonal swoon," as is typical.

  • A look at Korn/Ferry’s most recent financial results--released December 8--look very positive as well. The executive recruiting firm, whose results are often cited as a harbinger of good or bad times in the job market, says its fee revenue during its most recent fiscal quarter was $108.5 million, an increase of 42 percent from $76.7 million in the same quarter of the prior fiscal year.  "Not only is overall demand for recruitment services up, but we are seeing increased activity in every product offering and in every region we serve," says Paul C. Reilly, chairman and CEO. "It appears that many companies are moving into growth mode, and recruitment and development activity is on the rise." Korn/Ferry’s own expenses are up because it’s paying more in comp and benefits. Much like its clients, Korn/Ferry is in a hiring mode.

  • Scot Melland, president and CEO of Dice, a tech job board , says, "The IT job market continues to have a nice steady increase month to month" despite a slight end-of-year slowdown. "The big news here is there’s just been this continuous improvement in the tech job market," he says. Melland says there are about 59,114 jobs currently posted on Dice, up about 90 percent from this time last year.

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