Career Report June, 2006 — Issue 76

Bob Larson, CPC

Bob Larson, CPC

Worker Confidence Up, Hiring Rises

Employees are feeling more confident about the labor market and their own job security as hiring has picked up in a number of industries, according to a recent article in USA Today. Indeed, mounting research shows that employees are cautiously optimistic as salary freezes thaw and companies play tug-of-war over skilled job candidates.

Wages are also up in many industries, the article pointed out. The hourly earnings of non-supervisory and production workers, which is most of the private sector, grew 3.8 percent in the past year, the fastest in nearly five years.

That follows a period when wages lagged inflation for several years. With the unemployment rate at a low 4.7 percent in April, some employers noted that hiring is increasingly becoming more of a challenge.

Commenting on the trends cited in the article, Bob Larson, president of Berman Larson Kane, said: “The anticipated war for talent is in full battle, particularly for specialties such as accounting and select areas of information technology and sales. The shelf life for good candidates is getting shorter and shorter each month.”

As a result, signing bonuses–which waned in popularity as the economy faltered–are back in vogue in several industries, the article noted. In fact, 65 percent of employers in 2005-06 have been offering signing bonuses for technology-related positions, a poll by Mercer Human Resource Consulting revealed.

“What we’re seeing (in the job market) is major,” Marlon Doles, senior manager of staffing and diversity for Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup, told USA Today. “Competition (for jobs) is really heating up. It hasn’t been like this in a number of years.”

Brian Callaghan, CEO of Apex Systems, a Richmond, Va.-based provider of temporary information technology staffing, said the shift in demand means candidates can be choosier about job assignments. “Good (candidates) will have several opportunities,” he added.

Employee attitudes about their jobs have improved greatly, as well. A survey by Right Management found that 81 percent of U.S. workers believe there’s little or no chance they could lose their job in the coming year, according to a recent article in The Record. That marks a significant jump in confidence levels from six months ago, when the firm found that 24 percent of Americans feared being let go at any given moment.

At the same time, though, workers are not especially optimistic about their chances for a promotion, according to the poll. And with an improved job market, that could raise the potential for more workers in their current positions to look for opportunities elsewhere.

News from BLK

The entire staff of Berman Larson Kane is very pleased to announce that Bob Larson, CPC, president of the firm, has been elected Chairman of the Board of NAPS. The official election took place at the May meeting, which was held in Vancouver. NAPS, the National Association of Personnel Services, has a membership roster of over 1200 staffing firms. NAPS was founded and continues to be focused on its mission of keeping the staffing industry informed, educated and certified.

On June 21, 2006, BLK will sponsor the monthly meeting of the North Jersey Rockland chapter of SHRM, the Society for Human Resources Management. These meetings provide an opportunity for Human Resources professionals to network and keep up-to-date on important issues facing the HR industry. If you’re in this field and not yet a member of SHRM, please feel free to call Susan Cocchiaro, CTS, PHR of our office at 201-556-2883 – she is the organization’s membership chair.