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Indeed: Hiring outlook is ‘bullish’ for 2018

December 15, 2017 GMT

About 60 percent of companies across the country plan to hire more people next year than they did in 2017, according to a recent survey by Stamford job-search firm Indeed.

At the same time, 10 percent of companies plan to cut their hiring, while the rest plan to maintain current levels.

Employers’ plans reflect their expectations about performance in the coming year, with the survey drawing on the responses in October of executives from about 1,000 companies, each with at least 100 employees. Some 56 percent said they are hiring to support business growth, while 31 percent are hiring for a specific skill. Thirteen percent are replacing departed employees.

“We’re bullish on the outlook for 2018,” Kevin Walker, Indeed’s senior director of field marketing, said in an interview this week. “Assuming employers will do what they say they’re going to do, 2018 should be a banner year for the U.S. economy.”

Wide-ranging growth

Architecture and engineering represent the most active sectors: 82 percent of firms in those fields plan to hire more next year. Some 75 percent of IT and telecommunications companies and 71 percent of professional-services firms also intend to ramp up their hiring.

Among the less active industries, 55 percent of retail companies and 41 percent of educational organizations expect to recruit more people next year.

Southwestern Connecticut faces a number of structural challenges in bringing in more workers, said David Lewis, founder and CEO of Norwalk-based HR outsourcing and consulting firm Operations Inc.

“It’s somewhat underwhelming in the number of companies sitting there and saying they’re going to be expanding and doing a lot of things in terms of hiring,” Lewis said. “Fairfield County has a double problem: You’re dealing with the high cost of living and commute issues that cause this area to cost more to hire people. And then you’re also competing with one of the most expensive job markets in the country in Manhattan.”


At the same time, employers point to several potential obstacles in reaching their 2018 hiring goals. About 42 percent of executives said they were concerned they could fall short of their objectives.

About 40 percent of companies said their entry-level positions are hardest to fill. Recruiting those employees can be more difficult because companies often do not have much flexibility to offer higher compensation and other incentives.

“For many of these entry-level roles, you have a much higher level of attrition because many people are leaving,” Walker said. “Loyalties are not what they once were, and people in those entry-level positions will leave for a little more money, even for as little as 25 cents more per hour.”

Hiring for those entry-level posts represents the greatest challenge for 55 percent of companies in the retail industry and 52 percent of health care companies.

“People are the lifeblood of industries such as health care,” Walker said. “If you don’t have the people, you don’t have the patients, which means you’re not going to have the revenues.”

In the retail sector, where salaries tend to run lower, 75 percent of executives said they expected to have the budgets to make all the required new hires.

“The population of potential workers in retail is big,” Walker said. “But the competition is big as well.”

pschott@scni.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott