2011 Job Forecast

job listings According to CareerBuilder's 2011 Job Forecast, more employers plan to add full-time, permanent headcount in 2011 as compared to 2010, with a continued emphasis on hiring in technology and other revenue-producing fields.

The survey included more than 2,400 hiring managers and human resource professionals across several industries and a range of company sizes. Here's what the survey revealed.

Full-time hiring

Twenty-four percent of employers surveyed plan to hire full-time, permanent employees in 2011, up from 20 percent in 2010, and 14 percent in 2009. Only 7 percent plan to decrease headcount, an improvement from 9 percent in 2010 and 16 percent in 2009. Fifty-eight percent anticipate no change in their staff levels while 11 percent are unsure.

Part-time hiring

Thirteen percent of these employers expect to hire part-time employees in the next 12 months, up from 11 percent in 2010, and 9 percent in 2009. Five percent plan to decrease part-time help, an improvement from 8 percent in 2010, and 14 percent in 2009. Seventy-one percent anticipate no change in their staff levels while 12 percent are unsure.

Contract/temporary hiring

Thirty-four percent of those hiring reported they will hire contract or temporary workers in 2011, up from 30 percent last year, and 28 percent in 2009. Of those hiring, 24 percent expect to add more staff than last year. Thirty-nine percent of employers plan to transition some contract or temporary staff into full-time, permanent employees.

Top functional areas for hiring

In 2011, the top 10 growing functional areas for recruitment and their corresponding percentage increases are:

  1. Sales – 27 percent
  2. Information Technology – 26 percent
  3. Customer Service – 25 percent
  4. Engineering – 21 percent
  5. Technology – 19 percent
  6. Administrative – 17 percent
  7. Business Development – 17 percent
  8. Marketing – 17 percent
  9. Research/Development – 15 percent
  10. Accounting/Finance – 14 percent

Hiring by region

More employers in the West plan to recruit new employees in 2011 than other regions. Twenty-six percent of hiring managers surveyed in the West reported they plan to add full-time, permanent headcount followed by 24 percent in the Northeast and 23 percent in the Midwest and South.

Plans to downsize staffs are trending lower then they have for the last two years. Eight percent of employers in the South expect to decrease headcount, followed by 7 percent in the Northeast, Midwest and West.

Hiring by company size

While small businesses have been slower to recover, hiring is gradually improving among companies of all sizes. Thirty percent of those employers surveyed with staffs larger than 250 employees plan to increase their full-time, permanent headcount in 2011, followed by 27 percent of employers with 51-250 employees, and 14 percent of employers with 50 or fewer employees.

Five percent of employers with 1-50 employees plan to reduce their work force, as compared to 6 percent of businesses with 51-250 employees, and 9 percent with more than 250 employees.


Forty-one percent of employers surveyed are concerned that their best talent will leave their organizations once the economy improves. Sixty-one percent said they will increase compensation for their existing staff in 2011, up from 57 percent in 2010. While most employers estimate the average raise will be 3 percent or less, 10 percent expect the average increase will be 5 percent or more.

Thirty-one percent will provide higher initial job offers to job candidates, up from 29 percent last year. While most increases will likely fall within the same 1 to 3 percent range, 8 percent of employers expect to up initial job offers by 5 percent or more.

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