Recruitment Holds Steady, Job Losses Trend Downward

July 1, 2009 ( - Most employers expect their staff levels to remain the same as recruiting patterns hold steady and job losses trend downward, according to CareerBuilder and USA TODAY's Q3 2009 Job Forecast.

A press release on the survey said 64% of employers reported no change in their staff levels in the second quarter. The number of employers who added and reduced headcount improved over the previous three months. Eighteen percent of employers said they increased their number of full-time permanent employees in the second quarter – up from 13% in the first quarter. Seventeen percent of employers reported a reduction in headcount, an improvement from 26% in the first quarter.

Looking forward, 15% of hiring managers expect to increase full-time, permanent headcount in the third quarter, up slightly from what was originally projected for the second quarter, according to the announcement. Ten percent anticipate there will be a decrease in headcount in the third quarter, a projected improvement from the previous two quarters. Sixty-eight percent expect no change and 7% are unsure.

Controlling HR Costs

The survey also found employers are concentrating on cost containment measures to help them endure a challenging economy.

Nearly one-in-ten employers (8%) have presented job offers with postponed start dates this year to secure talent while delaying expenses associated with additional headcount. Of these employers, 42% provided a pay incentive while the remainder did not.

Ten percent of employers have instituted mandatory furloughs for employees over the last six months. The majority of furloughs were one week or less, 28% were one to two days.

Sixteen percent of employers have implemented pay cuts in the last six months. Of these employers, 28% said all salaries were reduced by 5% or less while 33% had decreases of more than 5%. Thirty-nine percent reported that cuts varied according to salary and/or title.

Forty-four percent of employers have instituted a hiring freeze over the last six months. Of these employers, 31% stated that they will be hiring going forward, while 69% reported a continued suspension of hiring.

Thirteen percent of employers have altered their sick time or paid time off policy in 2009, offering less days, not allowing days to roll over or limiting the amount of days that can roll over.

Forty-three percent of employers have cut perks and benefits in 2009. The top three areas impacted are bonuses, 401(k) matching and medical coverage.

The number of employers participating in the CareerBuilder/USA TODAY Q3 2009 Job Forecast planning pay increases was unchanged compared to the prior three months, according to a press release.

Forty-one percent of employers expect to increase salaries for full-time, permanent employees in the third quarter. Twenty-eight percent estimate the average raise to range between 1% and 3%; 12% expect an average increase of 4% to 10%; and 1% expect raises to be 11% or more.

Forty-seven percent of employers anticipate no change in compensation levels, 7% expect a decrease, and 5% are unsure.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive from May 22 through June 10, 2009 among more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals.