Confidence and Caution Characterize Today’s Job Market: The need is there, business is better, but some companies still hesitate, say MRINetwork® recruiters

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Survey of MRINetwork recruiters finds 56 percent said they would characterize today’s talent market as candidate-driven, while 44 percent cited an employer-driven market.

MRINetwork: Experts in Global Search
As companies gain more confidence in the economy, many are ready to add headcount and backfill positions that have been left unfilled.

With unemployment edging downward and new job creation gaining speed, MRINetwork®, one of the world’s largest search and recruiting organizations, recently conducted a survey of its recruiters to determine the current status of hiring among the company’s clients – what’s driving job openings, what’s keeping companies from returning to pre-recession head counts, and how the hiring process has changed.

Of MRINetwork recruiters, 56 percent said they would characterize today’s talent market as candidate-driven, while 44 percent cited an employer-driven market, unchanged from six months ago.

Nearly half of respondents – 49 percent – cited newly created positions as the primary reason for the job openings they were seeing. Twenty-seven percent called vacancies from resignation the most common reason for openings, a six-point increase from when the question was asked in July.

“As companies gain more confidence in the economy, many are ready to add headcount and backfill positions that have been left unfilled,” says Rob Romaine, president of MRINetwork. “We are seeing clients reinvest in their teams, expanding their operations, and striving to gain market share as business improves.”

Romaine believes that the need exists for even greater hiring, but that caution is holding some companies back from returning to their pre-recession hiring levels. “With 34% indicating that despite rebounding sales, hiring managers meet resistance in getting authorization to fill open positions. It seems clear that significant pent-up demand is still unmet. How great that demand is will likely become clear in the months ahead and could possibly lead to keener competition for the best candidates.”

The caution that characterizes the employment situation is reflected in the hiring process as well. Romaine notes that more than three interviews were required in two-thirds of the searches that resulted in a job offer. “Companies are fearful of making the wrong hire,” he said. “They want the perfect candidate and often mistakenly believe that with high unemployment, there are many such candidates available. Unfortunately, that’s not the case in most searches for professional, managerial and executive positions.”

The length of the hiring process is also improving. “In the pre-recession talent market, employers knew they had to make hiring decisions in a timely fashion or lose the best prospects. Today, nearly half of the placements took less than five weeks from the first interview until an offer was made, while just 20 percent took more than seven weeks,” he observed. “In the last six months we have seen this time shorten, a trend that will continue as competition heats up.”

Recruiters have a keen awareness of the job market and the factors that affect it, says Romaine. “Our recruiters increasingly sense that employers are slow to accept that the tide is turning toward a candidate-driven market, which is costing them quality candidates. As has always been the case, the companies that move quickly in the year ahead will snap up the best talent.”

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About the MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study
The MRINetwork Recruiter Sentiment Study (2012 1st Half) is based on a survey conducted between December 19, 2011 and January 12, 2012 via a web-based survey with a total of 163 recruiters responding. The survey has a 4.8 percent margin of error with an 80 percent confidence. The full report can be accessed from http://www.MRINetwork.com/RecruiterSentiment.

About MRINetwork®:
Management Recruiters International, Inc., branded as MRINetwork®, is one of the largest executive search and recruitment organizations in the world. A subsidiary of CDI Corp. (NYSE:CDI), a global provider of engineering & information technology outsourcing solutions and professional staffing, the MRINetwork has approximately 800 offices in 35 countries. Visit MRINetwork at http://www.mrinetwork.com.

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