by CIO Staff

Employment Picture Looking Up

Dec 12, 20053 mins
IT Leadership

Despite recent reports of planned layoffs and plant closings, the majority of businesses across the country see an increase in the number of employees in their organization in the next 12 months. However, significantly more smaller than larger companies are expecting that growth.

In the third annual nationwide survey of planned employment conducted by NFI Research, 55 percent of senior executives and managers expect the number of employees in their organizations to increase. While 29 percent expect their employee count to stay the same, only 15 percent project a reduction.

This is the most optimistic of the three years, with 42 percent of executives and managers in 2003 projecting an employee increase, and 43 percent at the end of last year. However, only 37 percent of large companies see an increase in the overall number of employees compared to 64 percent of small businesses.

When it comes to decreasing headcount, more than a quarter of large companies see a decrease, compared to less than a tenth of small companies.

The top reasons cited in the survey for the coming employment changes were business increase, expansion and business efficiency. Current economic conditions were cited as a cause by fewer than a fourth of respondents.

Several respondents also cited geographic issues as factors influencing headcount within their organization.

“We are expecting a moderate increase in staffing due to continued expansion outside the U.S.,” said one survey respondent. “Staffing in the U.S. will remain flat for our organization as we add resources at our facilities outside the U.S.”

Said another respondent: “We continue to see jobs becoming available throughout our region that require recruiting from out of the region as the labor pool is not expanding as rapidly as job opportunity. In addition, funds for training programs at area state colleges are in short supply, making training and retraining in a number of technical job areas difficult.”

As businesses become more streamlined due to running tighter operations over the past few years, each person could, in effect, become more “productive.”

“We have been growing our employee base for a number of years and expanding at the same rate as the market growth,” said one respondent. “However, I believe this next year there will be some trimming of headcount based upon consolidation of job responsibilities, better efficiency of workers and systems and tightening market conditions.”

With the projected increase in the need for talent in the next year, there may be more musical chairs as smaller organizations, which need more employees to handle growth, recruit from larger organizations, which are not expecting as much business increase, based on the NFI Research survey.

“We’ve been blessed with a relatively low level of competition for knowledge workers over the past three to four years,” said one survey respondent. “That is rapidly changing. I expect the job market to become increasingly competitive over the next 12 to 24 months as companies staff up and compete for scarce talent.”

It just might be time for some of those in large companies to polish that resume. The small and medium companies soon may be on the prowl inside the big corporate walls.