The survey also found that 47 percent of hiring managers cited underqualified applicants as their most common hiring challenge.
The annual Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations Report provides an overview of the current employment situation, as well as a glimpse of the future hiring landscape. The report offers information on what types of professionals employers will be looking for when economic conditions improve.
The survey questioned more than 500 hiring managers and 500 workers.
“Companies already are identifying the key skill sets they will need in new hires to take advantage of the opportunities presented by improving economic conditions,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Firms that cut staffing levels too deeply may need to do significant rebuilding once the recovery takes hold.”
Hiring managers consider customer service the function most critical to their organization’s success, followed by sales, marketing/creative and technology. Public relations/communications, business development and accounting/finance round out the list.
Looking ahead, respondents cited technology, customer service and sales as the departments that will add positions first. Marketing/creative, business development, human resources and accounting/finance also were cited.
Despite high unemployment rates across the U.S. and an expanded pool of available talent, employers continue to report difficulty finding skilled professionals for open positions. Employers said that on average, 44 percent of résumés they receive are from unqualified candidates.
As they prepare for growth, employers are open to paying more for hard-to-find talent. Sixty-one percent of hiring managers said their companies are willing to negotiate higher compensation for qualified candidates.
Employers, however, are unwilling to accelerate the hiring process. The average time to recruit a new full-time employee is the same range as this time last year: 4.5 to 14.4 weeks.
In addition to spending time reviewing and screening a high volume of résumés from unqualified applicants, employers also are more carefully evaluating those job candidates who are invited for interviews in order to avoid hiring mistakes.