Hiring of HR Professionals Picks Up Steam

February 2, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - At least one segment of the workforce has apparently been enjoying a post-downturn job bonanza in recent weeks - human resources professionals.

Companies optimistic about their hiring prospects for later in 2004 are bringing on the workers necessary for a job expansion by snapping up recruiters, hiring managers, and other staffing specialists, a ccording to the Boston Globe .

“If you’re going to hire, you need hirers,” Nicholas Perna, a Connecticut economic consultant, told the Globe. “We don’t have to sit around and wait for the government’s next payroll survey to come out for me to add up the pieces that hiring is rising.”

As one indicator, membership in one Boston network, the King & Bishop HR Roundtable, ballooned to 150 members last summer. Only 50 members are now left — the rest found work. Another Boston-area group, the Senior Human Resources Network Group, is seeing unusually rapid turnover among its membership, which is limited to 25. They, too, are finding jobs, officials said.

The rebound in HR hiring, a small but telling segment of the economy, provides a hint of hope to counter official reports on the condition of the US labor market, according to the Globe report. Other indications of hiring activity have also surfaced: a survey released this week by New York human resources consultant DBM found 50% of HR professionals plan to “moderately to greatly boost hiring activity in 2004,” a sharp rise over plans a year ago.

Not only that, but the Institute of Supply Management’s hiring indexes for manufacturing and nonmanufacturing companies are likewise rising. And classified advertising sales on major Internet job boards also rose steadily last year and in the first weeks of January, according to Corzen Inc., which tracks online market share.

HR types aren’t sorry to see the downturn come to an end – at least for their sector. The pickup in HR employment ends one of the worst periods in the profession’s recent history. “Thankfully, this appears to be over,” said Brendan King, president of HR consultants King & Bishop.