Forecast for full-time, permanent hiring in Q4 most optimistic since 2006

Seasonal hiring also expected to increase over last year

Posted October 14, 2015

Full-time, permanent hiring in the fourth quarter is projected to be the most robust since 2006 and seasonal hiring is poised to outpace last year’s projections by a healthy margin, according to CareerBuilder’s latest forecast. Thirty-four percent of U.S. employers plan to hire full-time, permanent staff in Q4, and nearly the same percentage (33 percent) expect to add seasonal staff. More than half (53 percent) of retailers plan to hire seasonal workers in Q4, up from 43 percent last year.

“Our study is reflecting a durability in the U.S. economy and labor market,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. “Employer confidence is widespread and the strongest we’ve seen since 2006. Hiring will continue on an upward trajectory for both permanent and seasonal positions, with pay expected to improve over last year as companies keep pace with minimum wage hikes and compete more aggressively for elusive talent.”

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from August 12 to September 2, 2015, and included a representative sample of 2,326 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

Full-time, Permanent Hiring in Q3 2015

Thirty-nine percent of employers added full-time, permanent headcount in Q3, up from 34 percent in the same period in 2014 and 28 percent in 2013. Ten percent decreased headcount, on par with last year, while 49 percent made no change to staff levels and 1 percent was unsure.

Full-time, Permanent Hiring in Q4 2015

Looking ahead, 34 percent of employers plan to add full-time, permanent employees in Q4, up from 29 percent in 2014 and 25 percent in 2013. Ten percent expect to reduce staff, on par with last year, while 52 percent anticipate no change and 4 percent are unsure.

Seasonal Hiring in Q4 2015

Seasonal hiring activity over the next three months is also expected to show notable year-over-year gains. One third (33 percent) of employers expect to hire seasonal workers in Q4, up from 26 percent last year. Fifty-seven percent expect to transition some seasonal staff into full-time, permanent roles, up from 42 percent last year.

Pay for Seasonal Jobs

Seasonal workers will likely benefit from recent minimum wage increases implemented at the federal and state level and among large name brands. Thirty-seven percent of employers say they will increase pay for their seasonal staff, up 10 percentage points over last year. Seventy-two percent of seasonal employers will pay $10 or more per hour while 19 percent will pay $16 or more.

Half of seasonal employers (52 percent) say they’re boosting staffs to help with the busier holiday season while others are focused on wrapping up the year (30 percent) or ramping up for 2016 (31 percent).

While the amount of retailers planning to hire seasonal help in Q4 increased 10 percentage points over last year, companies across industries are hiring for a variety of areas:

  • Customer Service – 46 percent
  • Administrative/Clerical Support – 23 percent
  • Inventory Management – 17 percent
  • Hosting/Greeting – 17 percent
  • Shipping/Delivery – 16 percent
  • Accounting/Finance – 15 percent
  • Marketing – 15 percent
  • Sales (non-retail) – 11 percent
  • Technology – 10 percent

Permanent and Seasonal Hiring by Region

Similar to last year’s forecast, the South houses the largest percentage of employers planning to add full-time, permanent employees in Q4 (36 percent). The Midwest reported the largest year-over-year gain with 34 percent of employers expecting to add full-time, permanent staff, up 10 percentage points over last year. The West is leading other regions for seasonal hiring (42 percent) by a significant margin of 9-plus percentage points and reported the biggest year over year gain (13 percentage points).

Region Permanent Hiring in Q4 2014 Permanent Hiring in Q4 2015 Seasonal Hiring in Q4 2014 Seasonal Hiring in Q4 2015
South 33% 36% 25% 33%
Midwest 24% 34% 24% 31%
West 31% 33% 29% 42%
Northeast 27% 32% 25% 28%

Permanent and Seasonal Hiring by Company Size

Among employers with more than 500 employees, 44 percent plan to add full-time, permanent headcount, a solid jump from 35 percent last year. The percentage expecting to hire seasonal workers in Q4 is up significantly from 31 percent in 2014 to 42 percent in 2015.

Hiring is also expected to pick up pace in small businesses. Among companies with 50 or fewer employees, 23 percent plan to hire full-time, permanent workers over the next three months, up 6 percentage points from 16 percent last year. Seasonal hiring for this segment is expected to hold steady with 17 percent of employers planning to add staff.

Among companies with 250 or fewer employees, 26 percent expect to add full-time, permanent staff in Q4, up from 23 percent last year, while 25 percent expect to add seasonal staff in Q4, up from 21 percent last year.

Company Size Permanent Hiring in Q4 2014 Permanent Hiring in Q4 2015 Seasonal Hiring in Q4 2014 Seasonal Hiring in Q4 2015
50 or fewer employees 16% 23% 17% 17%
250 or fewer employees 23% 26% 21% 25%

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,326 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between August 12 and September 2, 2015 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 2,326, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.03 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.


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