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Study More Firms Say Hiring Will Be Off in 2008

February 28, 2008
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Recruiting consultancy CareerXroads released its annual Source of Hire Study, and for the first time in its seven-year history, more respondents are saying they will make fewer hires than in the previous year.

Almost 35 percent of respondents predicted they would have fewer hires in 2008, compared with 32 percent in 2007. Forty-four percent of respondents said the number of hires will remain the same. Only 22 percent of participants predicted more new hires.

Additionally, the No. 1 source of all hires is internal transfers and promotions, which mimics last year’s results, according to the survey released Wednesday, February 27. The survey included 49 employers with workforce populations of 5,000 that made 303,000 hires in 2007, according to Gerry Crispin, principal at CareerXroads. The data was collected in January.

Internal transfers and promotions accounted for 30 percent of the hires that survey participants made in 2007. Some respondents said that as much as 50 percent of their hires were derived from internal transfers and promotions.

Despite such practices, the study finds, companies are not bragging about it to potential candidates. It’s a missed opportunity, Crispin notes, particularly because career development is one of the key factors that prospects take into account when evaluating a job offer.

The study also notes that referrals make up 28.7 percent of all external hires. The study shows employee referrals are by far the largest contributor of candidates in this category. Twenty percent of survey respondents said one out of two employee referrals result in a hire.

About 26 percent of hires attributed to job boards, including a company’s own site. There are some promising changes under way in the area, Crispin says. Companies in the survey showed an increased awareness of the flaws that lie in using online pull-down menus to determine where job seekers initially learned about a vacancy.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said they ask a candidate source-of-hire questions during the interview. And 26 percent of participants ask source-of-hire questions to employees during the onboarding process.

Direct sourcing, or proactively finding leads, contributed to 9.4 percent of hires—which was up from 6.4 percent in 2006. Crispin believes the rise of direct sourcing is related to the reduction in agency hires. Third-party placement agencies now bring in 3.3 percent of hires, according to survey participants. This has been declining steadily, from 4.8 percent in 2006 and 5.2 percent in 2005.

Media print ads are falling, accounting for only 4.6 percent of hires among survey respondents, compared with 6.9 percent in 2006. CareerXroads believes newspaper ads will eventually bottom out at between 3 percent and 4 percent.

—Gina Ruiz

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