"The current economic climate is contributing to increased caution in the global labor market with employers in the majority of countries we survey planning to slow hiring from fourth quarter, as debt issues in Europe continue to create uncertainty," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup. "Companies are truly global now; and we are seeing themes across countries and regions when it comes to supply and demand issues and the impact on their talent needs. In the U.S., we see forecasts improving slightly or remaining stable in 9 of 13 sectors from both last year and three months ago; hiring plans in India bounce back after a decline in the previous quarter; and the forecast for Japan shows continued resilience and the strongest hiring plans since the third quarter of 2008. On the other hand, we see employer hiring plans in China slow considerably from this time last year, due to government measures to cool the economy and declining demand from its biggest export market – Europe."
ManpowerGroup's labor market research reveals first quarter hiring expectations are positive in 31 of 41 countries and territories, with Net Employment Outlooks declining from three months ago in 30 countries and territories. Outlooks are softer in 23 countries and territories compared to this time last year, but are stable or improved in 16. Hiring intentions for the first three months of the new year are strongest in India, Brazil, Taiwan, Panama and Turkey, and weakest in Greece, Hungary and Italy, where a greater percentage of employers in these three countries are planning to trim payrolls rather than hire staff.
Although positive hiring activity is expected in 13 of 22 countries surveyed across Europe and the Middle East, Net Employment Outlooks are weaker from three months ago in 17 countries and 11 compared to this time last year. Regional hiring plans are strongest in Turkey, Israel and Germany, and weakest in Greece and Hungary, where hiring confidence continues to erode.
"Hiring intentions in Germany continue to be optimistic with the strongest demand expected in the Finance and Business Services sector. And because German employers have not seen the expected inflow of skilled workers as a result of this year's new EU mobility legislation and the unemployment rate remains among the lowest in Europe, talent shortages remain a real issue. In fact, we're seeing our German clients increasingly hire our temporary associates as full-time, permanent staff," said Joerres. "In Eastern Europe, with the exception of Turkey and Slovenia, employer hiring plans weaken in six of the eight countries we survey, most notably in Hungary where 22 percent of employers are telling us they will cut staff in the quarter ahead. On the other hand, the optimistic outlook in the Turkish labor market is due in part to stronger demand in the Pharmaceuticals and Finance and Business Services sectors."
Across the Asia Pacific region, job prospects remain solid but employers in six of eight countries and territories are expecting to ease hiring compared to three months ago, most notably in Singapore. Compared to last year at this time, employers in six countries and territories say they will slow the pace of hiring, with the forecast in China weakening considerably. Hiring plans in Japan remain the least robust in the region, but the outlook improves slightly from the previous quarter and 12 months ago.
"Indian jobseekers should see hiring activity rebound in the first quarter, as GDP growth continues. This is becoming increasingly difficult as India's national workforce struggles to keep pace with demand for these technology roles," said Joerres. "Meanwhile, employer hiring expectations drop across all Chinese industry sectors compared to three months ago and this time last year, but despite the slowdown job seekers with relevant skills should still find plenty of opportunities. In Japan, as the country gradually recovers from the 11 March natural disaster, the labor market continues to strengthen with the strongest job prospects found in the Mining and Construction sector. However, the talent mismatch remains a serious concern for job seekers and employers alike in the Tohoku area."
Across the 10 countries Manpower surveys in the Americas, employer hiring plans remain positive in all countries, with Net Employment Outlooks remaining relatively stable or improving in six of the 10 countries in comparison to the fourth quarter 2011. The year-on-year comparison is split, with outlooks strengthening or weakening five countries. Regional hiring expectations are strongest in Brazil and weakest in the U.S., where employers expect slightly more hiring activity in the next three months.
"We're clearly seeing the most aggressive hiring in Brazil—particularly in the Services and Transportation sectors where nearly half of all employers surveyed expect to add staff in the quarter ahead. But employer optimism in Brazil's typically strong Manufacturing sector is noticeably softer; machinery orders are down and the industry is feeling the effects of increased pressure from imports, and job seekers there will likely see a lull in demand for their talents," said Joerres.
"In the U.S., news continues to be good for job hunters in the Leisure & Hospitality sector. Nearly a quarter of employers in this sector tell us they will add staff in the next three months, and this is on top of the nearly 350,000 jobs added since the sector emerged from its recent low point in January of 2010."
The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on 13 March 2012 to report hiring expectations for the second quarter of 2012. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is available free of charge to the public through their local Manpower representative in participating countries. To receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, interested individuals are invited to complete an online subscription form at: http://manpowergroup.com/investors/alerts.cfm.
About the Survey
The global leader in innovative workforce solutions, ManpowerGroup releases the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey quarterly to measure employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. It is the longest running, most extensive, forward-looking employment survey in the world, polling nearly 65,000 employers in 41 countries and territories. The survey serves as a bellwether of labor market trends and activities and is regularly used to inform the Bank of England's Inflation Reports, as well as a regular data source for the European Commission, informing its EU Employment Situation and Social Outlook report the Monthly Monitor. ManpowerGroup's independent survey data is also sourced by financial analysts and economists around the world to help determine where labor markets are headed.
ManpowerGroup™ (NYSE: MAN), the world leader in innovative workforce solutions, creates and delivers high-impact solutions that enable our clients to achieve their business goals and enhance their competitiveness. With over 60 years of experience, our $22 billion company creates unique time to value through a comprehensive suite of innovative solutions that help clients win in the Human Age. These solutions cover an entire range of talent-driven needs from recruitment and assessment, training and development, and career management, to outsourcing and workforce consulting. ManpowerGroup maintains the world's largest and industry-leading network of nearly 3,900 offices in over 80 countries and territories, generating a dynamic mix of an unmatched global footprint with valuable insight and local expertise to meet the needs of its 400,000 clients per year, across all industry sectors, small and medium-sized enterprises, local, multinational and global companies. By connecting our deep understanding of human potential to the ambitions of clients, ManpowerGroup helps the organizations and individuals we serve achieve more than they imagined — because their success leads to our success. And by creating these powerful connections, we create power that drives organizations forward, accelerates personal success and builds more sustainable communities. We help power the world of work. The ManpowerGroup suite of solutions is offered through ManpowerGroup™ Solutions, Manpower®, Experis™ and Right Management®. Learn more about how ManpowerGroup can help you win in the Human Age at www.manpowergroup.com.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Commentary is based on seasonally adjusted data where available. Full survey results for each of the 41 countries and territories included in this quarter's survey, plus regional and global comparisons, can be found in the ManpowerGroup Press Room at www.manpowergroup.com/meos. In addition, all tables and graphs from the full report are available to be downloaded for use in publication or broadcast from the ManpowerGroup Web site at: http://www.manpowergroup.com/press/meos.cfm