Hiring expected to rise in second quarter, including HR

Most executives optimistic about growth: Robert Half

A net 13 per cent of executives expect to add full-time, professional-level employees in the second quarter of 2011 — up 10 percentage points from the previous quarter’s projections, according the Robert Half Professional Employment Report. Fifteen per cent plan to increase staff, while two per cent anticipate declines.

Positive quarter-over-quarter increases are reported for all professions, most notably sales and business development, accounting and finance, human resources and information technology. Across all fields, most executives remain optimistic about the future of their companies, found the survey of more than 1,000 Canadian executives. Nearly all respondents (87 per cent) said they are confident in their firms' growth prospects and 43 per cent are very confident.

"Increased business activity is prompting hiring, particularly among companies that cut staff too deeply in recent years," said Kathryn Bolt, district president of Robert Half Canada. "While some firms are hiring to maintain adequate staffing levels, businesses also are adding personnel in anticipation of renewed demand for their products and services."

Forty-seven per cent of respondents said it is challenging to find skilled professionals today. Executives at companies with 100 to 499 employees report the greatest hiring difficulty, with 51 per cent of respondents saying it is somewhat or very challenging to located skilled candidates.

And 41 per cent of executives said they are concerned about losing top-performing professionals to other job opportunities in the next year, found the survey.

Business services companies expect the most active hiring of any industry in the second quarter, with a net 38 per cent of executives expecting to make staff additions. Executives in the construction industry also anticipate above-average hiring activity as a net 32 per cent of construction executives said they plan to add staff, found Robert Half.

Respondents in the legal profession forecast the strongest hiring activity of all fields. Forty-four per cent of lawyers interviewed for the report projected staff increases and 1 per cent anticipated declines.

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