Post-Recession Job Market

The past year has undoubtedly brought many changes and challenges to both employers and employees. Layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs have been widespread, thus contributing to a job market saturated with qualified candidates competing for fewer jobs. Despite this steep competition among candidates, employers struggle to find professionals with in-demand skill sets.

Along with these continued battles, employers face a new challenge: ensuring their companies are prepared when the economy does make an inevitable turnaround, which will give them a competitive advantage.

A new survey, the 2009 EDGE Report from Robert Half International and CareerBuilder, provides answers to many of the lingering questions surrounding today’s economy and job market: Where will jobs be added first in the recovery? What challenges will employers face in recruitment? How will compensation be impacted? And how will employers retain the talent they’ve preserved during this difficult time?

To take advantage of an improving economy, employers that cut staffing levels extensively are taking a close look at the core skills needed in new hires in order to rebuild their rosters once the economic recovery takes hold.

Fifty-three percent of employers said they plan to hire full-time employees in the next 12 months, while 39 percent will add part-time employees, according to a new survey. Forty percent will hire contract, temporary or project professionals.

Here are several key other findings from the report:

Where jobs will be added first
Hiring managers currently consider customer service as the most critical to the company’s success, followed by sales, marketing/creative and technology. Public relations/communication, business development and accounting/finance round out the list.

When the economy does start to rebound, respondents said technology, customer service and sales departments will add positions first, followed by marketing/creative, business development, human resources and accounting/finance.

In the meantime, hiring managers continue to appreciate employees who can perform multiple functions. Employers cited multitasking, initiative and creative problem-solving as the most valuable characteristics in ideal new hires.

Retaining talent
Although many business leaders have plans to add new employees to their organizations in the coming months, they also have to consider how their decisions during the financial crisis have impacted job satisfaction and loyalty of their current staff.

Fifty-five percent of workers polled have plans to change careers, find a new employer or go back to school once the economy recovers. Forty-nine percent said that the most effective way to keep them on board will be with pay increases; in fact, 28 percent plan to ask for a raise.

Employers are aware that competitive pay and benefits will play a critical role in retaining talent. Forty percent of employers said that they plan to increase pay when the economy improves and 20 percent said they hope for better benefits and perks.

Continued challenges in recruitment
Although there is a greater pool of available talent among job seekers, employers are still having trouble finding qualified professionals for open positions: 47 percent of employers cited under-qualified applicants as their most common hiring challenge. Employers said that, on average, 44 percent of the résumés they receive are from unqualified candidates.

As a result, employers are open to paying for great talent; 61 percent said their companies are willing to negotiate a higher salary for qualified candidates.

A common complaint from job seekers is the amount of time the hiring process takes; however, this is one area where employers won’t budge. The average time it takes to recruit a new full-time hire is 4.5 to 14.4 weeks. Employers say that in order to avoid costly hiring mistakes, it’s necessary to take their time reviewing and screening a high volume of résumés, and also to carefully evaluate those invited for interviews

Advertisements

What The Mess???????????

NEW YORK – The couple who crashed President Barack Obama’s first state dinner are peddling their story to broadcast networks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, a television executive says.

The executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the network does not publicly discuss bookings, told The Associated Press that representatives for Michaele and Tareq Salahi contacted networks to urge them to “get their bids in” for an interview. The executive said the Virginia couple was looking for a payment in the mid-six figures range.

Meanwhile, CNN confirmed that the Salahis had canceled an appearance they had scheduled for “Larry King Live” on Monday.

Network news divisions say they don’t pay for interviews. But for eagerly sought interviews in the past, they have offered to pay for access to exclusive material, such as pictures or videos from their subjects.

Representatives for the couple did not immediately return telephone and e-mail requests for comment.

Michaele Salahis is a reality TV hopeful trying to get on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of D.C.” Her and her husband’s success in getting into the state dinner Tuesday without an invitation embarrassed the White House and Secret Service.

The agency acknowledged its officers never checked whether the couple were on the guest list before letting them onto the White House grounds. But it initially insisted Obama was never endangered by the security breach because the couple — like others at the dinner — had gone through magnetometers.

When it became clear the couple had interacted with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during the event, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan expressed concern and embarrassment. He said that while an investigation continues, the agency has taken measures to ensure the oversight is not repeated.

A White House photo showed the Salahis in the receiving line in the Blue Room with Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in whose honor the dinner was held. Obama and Michaele Salahi are smiling as she grasps his right hand with both of hers and her husband looks on. Singh is to Obama’s left.

On Saturday, Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-NY, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called for a review of Secret Service practices and asked for a briefing this week.

Agency spokesmen declined to comment on reports that agents had visited the Salahis’ vineyard in Hume, Va., in search of the couple. Voice mail messages left Saturday at two separate telephone numbers for the Oasis Winery, south of Washington, were not immediately returned.

It is unclear what the couple told officers at the checkpoint that allowed them to go through the security screening. The Salahis lawyer, Paul Gardner, posted a comment on their Facebook page saying his clients were cleared by the White House to be at the dinner.