Staffing & Employment News:

Companies Refocus on Innovation, Competition, Hiring

Despite uncertainty, companies are refocusing on innovation, and hiring to gain/keep competitive edge. CEOs and search consultants express confidence in 2011. The biggest risks remain the recession, but talent acquisition may also be a challenge.

The latest short term data is in today. Despite a smaller gain than anticipated in payrolls, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly to a low unseen since April 2009: 9%. Short terms data aside, the outlook for 2011 is to refocus on innovation, competition, and hiring.

The 14th Annual Global CEO Survey [1] shows that CEOs are aiming at immediate growth and a big jump in revenue growth prospects over 2011. Confidence levels are rising across the board with more companies anticipating growing their payrolls than they did in 2010. According to the survey, as hiring plans gear up, a shortage in talent is becoming more apparent; two-thirds of CEOs believe they’re facing a limited supply of skilled candidates. The top five risks in 2011 are anticipated to be (1) Recession/Economy, (2) Public deficit, (3) Overregulation, (4) Availability of key skills, (5) Increasing tax burden. 

Companies are reportedly prioritizing innovation and marketing talent as well as finance experts in their C-level leadership once again, according to the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook [2]. “There has been a definite uptick in hiring in the interactive media and social gaming sectors, as companies competing for talent are becoming more aggressive and creative in their hiring strategies”. 

Redfish Technology reports surging demand in Software as a Service and Cloud Computing as well as Solar and Clean Tech companies, “From VP of Sales in high tech positions to PV Project Engineers, the talent is out there but it often requires pulling out a lot of stops to locate the right person with the right skills and the right fit” reports Rob Reeves, CEO. “In 2010 we more than doubled our production, and in 2011 we hope to do that again.” 

The Association of Executive Search 2011 Member Outlook Report [3] also reports confidence, with 68% of executive search consultants in the senior recruitment market reporting a positive outlook for the year ahead, and 30% neutral. This represents a high point in confidence since the industry hit its low point at the end of 2008. The Executive Search Industry Outlook [4] predicts the strongest growth in these sectors: Industrial (41.7%), Energy/Natural resources (40.1%), Financial Services (38.5%), Healthcare/Life Sciences (32.6%), Technology/Telecoms (32.1%), Consumer (27.3%), and Professional Services (23.5%). 

CTPartners Executive Search Inc.’s 2011 Executive Hot Job Report [5] shows business refocusing on hiring. According to Brian Sullivan, CEO of CTPartners, reports that regardless of the economic uncertainty that continues, executive hiring in 2011 should be strong as companies are recognizing that they must innovate and compete. The report highlights hot executive jobs for 2011, which includes direction of social media, clean-tech, cloud computing/SaaS, business development, and mobility. 

According to ADP, U.S. private payrolls rose in January to 187,000 month over month, the twelfth consecutive monthly increase. Econoday reported that the fourth quarter advance estimate of GDP is greater than expected at 5.7 percent (annual rate), the quickest growth rate in more than six years. And Challenger reported the fewest layoffs announced for any January since its series began in 1993, at only 38,519. 

The Business Employment Dynamics Quarterly Report (Q2 2010) shows that from March to June 2010 job losses have steadily decreased from a recent high of 8.5 million in December 2008 to the lowest level since the series began in September 1992. Quarterly net employment change was positive by 728,000 jobs which represents the first positive net employment change since the recession began in December 2007 and the largest since March 2006. 


[1] The PWC 14th Annual Global CEO Survey 

[2] Boyden Executive Outlook Reveal Shifts Back to C-Level Innovation and Marketing Leadership 

[3] AESC Press Release “Executive Search Industry Anticipates Growth” 

[4] AECS 2011 Member Outlook Report 

[5] 2011 Executive Hot Jobs Report from CTPartners: Business Shifts from Caution to Competition