More than half of US employers plan to hire temporary workers in 2018 as companies work to maintain flexibility in their workforces and test drive candidates for permanent roles, according to CareerBuilder’s job forecast for 2018. The forecast’s survey found 51% of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2018, on par with plans heading into last year. And 64% of these employers plan to transition some temporary or contract workers into permanent roles.
The survey also found that 44% of employers plan to add full-time, permanent headcount in 2018, up from 40% in last year’s survey. Six percent expect a decrease in staff levels — down from 8% last year — while 45% anticipate no change and 5% are unsure of plans.
But filling these positions may prove a challenge. The survey found 45% of HR managers currently have jobs they cannot fill because they cannot find qualified talent and 58% reported they have jobs that stay open for 12 weeks or longer. Employers will also have a harder time holding on to current employees with 40% of workers planning to change jobs in 2018.
More job creation, higher voluntary employee turnover and intensified competition for talent will be the main themes surrounding employment in 2018, according to CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson.
“There is a perfect storm happening in the US labor market,” Ferguson said. “Low unemployment paired with lagging labor force participation and a growing skills gap is making it very difficult for businesses to find qualified candidates — and this is for all types of roles. If employers want to remain competitive, they are going to have to look to new talent pools and significantly increase their investment in training workers to build up the skills they require.”
Functions such as customer service, sales, IT and production top respondents’ lists for full-time, permanent hiring in 2018, but they also noted other key areas where they will be adding headcount:
- Skilled labor: 30%
- Data analysis: 25%
- Digital marketing: 17%
- Cyber security: 15%
- Automation: 12%
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning: 10%
The survey also listed five trends to watch in 2018, which include:
- Capturing new talent early: Employers will start courting college students early, 64% plan to hire recent college graduates this year.
- Importing talent: Employers will be looking beyond borders to find talent with 23% planning to hire workers from other countries to work in the US.
- Re-engaging past employees: Employers will increase outreach to workers who know their business and have a history with them, 39% plan to hire former employees in 2018.
- Hiring for potential: 66% of employers said they will train and hire workers who may not have all the skills they need, but have potential; 44% of all employers plan to train low-skill workers who don’t have experience in their field and hire them for higher-skill jobs.
- Boosting compensation: While wage gains have not reached desired levels, employers will become more aggressive with compensation levels for in-demand workers; 30% plan to increase starting salaries for new employees by 5% or more while 36% will do the same for existing staff.
The survey was conducted online within the US by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 888 hiring managers and human resource professionals. It was conducted between Nov. 28 and Dec. 20.