HR professionals’ confidence in the job market has fallen slightly though their own organizations are in good financial shape.
According to results from the latest annual SHRM Jobs Outlook Survey (JOS), which polled public – and private – sector human resource practitioners, the outlook for jobs as we round out 2016 is mostly positive. HR professionals are well positioned to assess the current economy and forecast where we’re headed; and while their confidence in the job market has fallen compared to a year ago, most respondents said their organizations’ finances are in good shape and few expect job cuts as 2016 comes to a close.
The HR professionals surveyed reported that job growth over the first half of 2016 was fairly strong, with 43 percent saying that their companies added jobs during that time frame. Another 41 percent maintained staffing levels, and 16 percent reduced head count. The main reason for putting off hiring was “business is not currently growing or expanding” (42%) followed by “improved efficiencies have reduced the need for staff (for example, through technology, automation or other business process improvements)” (31%).
Meanwhile, 58 percent of HR professionals had some level of confidence in the U.S. job market for the second half of 2016, including 13 percent who were “very optimistic” about job growth. Nearly 40 percent of respondents expected their companies to hire new workers during the last half of 2016, and less than 10 percent anticipated reductions in head count.
HR professionals at most organizations (89%) reported that the level of variable pay (bonuses, commissions, awards, etc.) would be maintained or raised during the second half of 2016. However, fewer employers expected to increase overtime hours in the second half of 2016 compared with the first half (18 percent vs. 28 percent).
Most HR professionals continue to face challenges finding talent for key roles. The JOS findings suggest that while fewer HR professionals are expecting the job market to expand significantly at the end of 2016, those challenges are likely to continue in 2017.
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