By Matt Ferguson
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Editor's note: CNN.com has a business partnership with CareerBuilder.com, which serves as the exclusive provider of job listings and services to CNN.com.
(CareerBuilder.com) -- Is finding a new job on your list of New Year's resolutions? The market may be in your favor.
Recent reports from the U.S. Labor Department indicate that while the expansion of the U.S. economy is slowing, it is doing so at a reasonable pace, and inflation has steadied.
A moderated, yet stable, job market is expected to carry over into 2007 with gains that will remain strong enough to keep the unemployment rate in check.
University of Michigan economists predict the United States will create 1.5 million jobs in the next 12 months.
According to CareerBuilder.com's annual job forecast, 40 percent of hiring managers and human resource professionals operating in the private sector report they will increase their number of full-time, permanent employees in 2007, compared to 2006. Eight percent expect to decrease headcount while 40 percent expect no change. Twelve percent are unsure.
Employers are expected to become more competitive in their recruitment and retention efforts in the New Year as the pool of skilled labor shrinks and productivity growth plateaus. Forty percent of employers report they currently have job openings for which they can't find qualified candidates.
This bodes well for workers who are likely to benefit from more generous job offers, more promotions, more flexible work cultures and other major trends identified for 2007:
No. 1: Bigger Paychecks
To motivate top performers to join or stay with their organizations, employers plan to offer better compensation packages.
Eighty-one percent of employers report their companies will increase salaries for existing employees. Sixty-five percent will raise compensation levels by 3 percent or more while nearly one-in-five will raise compensation levels by 5 percent or more.
Nearly half of employers (49 percent) expect to increase salaries on initial offers to new employees. Thirty-five percent will raise compensation levels by 3 percent or more while 17 percent will raise compensation levels by 5 percent or more.
No. 2: Diversity Recruitment -- Hispanics Workers in Demand
Understanding the positive influence workforce diversity has on overall business performance, employers remain committed to expanding the demographics of their staffs.
With the Hispanic population accounting for half of U.S. population growth since 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and buying power growing 8 percent annually, one-in-ten employers report they will be targeting Hispanic job candidates most aggressively of all diverse segments.
Nine percent plan to step up diversity recruiting for African American job candidates while 8 percent will target female job candidates. Half of employers recruiting bilingual employees say English/Spanish-speaking candidates are most in demand in their organizations.
No. 3: More Flexible Work Arrangements
Work/life balance is a major buzzword among U.S. employers as employees struggle to balance heavy workloads and long hours with personal commitments.
Nineteen percent of employers say they are very or extremely willing to provide more flexible work arrangements for employees such as job sharing and alternate schedules. Thirty-one percent are fairly willing.
No. 4: Rehiring Retirees
Employers continue to express concern over the loss of intellectual capital as Baby Boomers retire and smaller generations of replacement workers fall short of labor quotas.
One-in-five employers plan to rehire retirees from other companies or provide incentives for workers approaching retirement age to stay on with the company longer.
No. 5: More Promotions
With the perceived lack of upper mobility within an organization being a major driver for employee turnover, employers are carving out clearer career paths.
Thirty-five percent of employers plan to provide more promotions and career advancement opportunities to their existing staff in the New Year.
No. 6: Better Training
In light of the shortage of skilled workers within their own industries, the vast majority of employers -- 86 percent -- report they are willing to recruit workers who don't have experience in their particular industry or field, but have transferable skills.
Seventy-eight percent report they are willing to recruit workers who don't have experience in their particular industry or field and provide training/certifications needed.
No. 7: Hiring Overseas
Companies continue to drive growth by entering or strengthening their presence in global markets. Thirteen percent of employers report they will expand operations and hire employees in other countries in 2007. Nine percent are considering it.
With China's economy expanding at 10 percent annually and India's at 8 percent, these two countries are particularly attractive to U.S. companies. Twenty-three percent of employers recruiting overseas report they will hire the most workers in China and 22 percent will hire the most in India.
This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 2,627 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time; not self employed; with at least significant involvement in hiring decisions), ages 18 and over within the United States between November 17 and December 11, 2006.
Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.</i>
With a pure probability sample of 2,627, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of 2 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account.
This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Matt Ferguson is CEO of CareerBuilder.com. He is an expert in recruitment trends and tactics, job seeker behavior and workplace issues.
© Copyright CareerBuilder.com 2007. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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