It’s a Candidate-Driven Market That is Only Getting More Competitive

Perm and temp placements will continue strong through the end of the year and may even increase, as more companies are reporting plans to add headcount.

Forecasts from CareerBuilder and Manpower show more employers plan to add staff — permanent, full-time, temp and contract — by the end of the year than was the case last year or even at the beginning of 2015. The Palmer Forecast calls for a nearly 5% increase in temp hiring through the end of September.

The bad news for agency recruiters is that placing candidates is only going to get harder.

MRI Network’s latest Recruiter Sentiment Study leaves no doubt who recruiters think is driving the market. It’s the candidates.

In just three years, the percentage of MRI’s recruiters saying it’s a candidate-driven market shot up from 56% in 2012 to 90% today.

Employers though, are still not getting the message, the surveyed recruiters say. While 63% of offers are now being made within four  weeks of the first interview (up from 59% at the end of 2014), almost half of MRI’s recruiters say the biggest obstacle to making the placement are offers that are too low.

When a candidate turns down an offer, 25% of the time it’s because of money and benefits. And even with speedier offers, 37% of turndowns are because the candidate has accepted another job.

The hiring forecasts for the current quarter and through the end of the year make a strong case the employment market will become more competitive.

CB 2015 midyear forecastThe CareerBuilder mid-year forecast out this morning says 34% of the employers it surveyed expect to add temporary or contract workers by the end of the year. Almost half — 49% — say they plan to add full-time, permanent workers. In both cases, the percentages are ahead of last year’s mid-year outlook. And the percentage of employers planning to add permanent, full-timers is well ahead of the 36% who planned to add staff at the beginning of this year.

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Last quarter, CareerBuilder’s survey predicted 32% of employers would add staff by the end of June. The latest survey shows 39% actually did.

Manpower’s Employment Survey for Q3 found 24% of employers planning to add staff. That’s the highest quarterly percentage since the recession, and two points higher than last year. When adjusted for seasonal variations, Manpower says third quarter hiring will look a lot like the just ended second quarter.

The Palmer Forecast for the third quarter forecasts a 4.9% increase over last year in demand for temp workers. The forecast released yesterday says temp growth increased 5.6% last quarter over the same quarter in 2014. Since the beginning of the year, temp agencies have upped their hiring by an average of 8,600 workers monthly.

The increasing pace of hiring can be clearly seen in The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index. It now stands at 129.11, the highest reading in almost 15 years.

“The growth in the Employment Trends Index accelerated in Q2, suggesting strong job growth through the summer,” said Gad Levanon, Managing Director of Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research at The Conference Board. “The combination of solid job growth and nearly flat labor force growth should lower the unemployment rate to 5 percent by year end.”

His comments were echoed by CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson who said the survey of hiring managers and HR managers shows, “There’s a favorable dynamic happening in the labor market today. Companies are feeling more financially secure and increasing their headcount.”

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.