New England Survey Finds Hiring Plans for 2011

January 20, 2011 ( – Some 93% of small and mid-sized New England businesses said in a recent survey they plan to add new hires, while only 5% anticipate possible layoffs this year.

A news release about the poll by HR consultant Insight Performance, Inc. and Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) said 38% of companies plan to offer base pay raises, as optimism for business conditions increases to 80% for 2011.

“The survey shows that small and mid-sized businesses see the business climate turning around,” said Nancy R. Mobley Founder and CEO, Insight Performance, in the news release. “Despite last year’s economy, many companies not only retained staff levels, but also added employees. This trend is expected to continue in 2011, as companies continue to recognize that their employees are integral to business growth.”

Potential hiring plans come despite expectations that benefit costs will continue to rise. Eighty-six percent of respondents anticipate that their companies’ costs for benefits will be higher than 2010, with average cost increases expected to be 11% higher. Forty-seven percent expect an employee’s benefit costs to rise. The average expected increase is 14% higher than last year.

According to the news release, survey highlights also include:

  • Staff retention and hiring remains a key area of focus. According to 2010 actual figures, 84% of companies either retained staffing levels or added employees. In 2011, companies expect to increase this number by 10%, with 93% planning to retain or increase staffing levels.
  • Salary freezes subside. While 38% of companies are planning base-pay increases in 2011, as compared to 43% projected for 2010, only 23% are planning to freeze base pay this year, as compared to 41% in 2010.
  • Companies see employee morale on the rise. Eighty-three percent of companies feel that their employees are confident about their jobs, compared to 47% last year.

The survey polled small and mid-sized New England companies with on average, less than 50 employees and annual revenues of $20 million or less. More information about Insight Performance is at