Employers Plan to Step Up Hiring in 2012, But Only Slightly

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) —  Americans should be cautiously optimistic about the job market in 2012, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

The jobs site found that nearly one in four hiring managers plan to hire full-time, permanent employees in 2012, similar to estimates from 2011. However, CareerBuilder expects hiring to be even a bit better than the forecast indicates, as employers tend to be conservative when it comes to making predictions.

“Barring any major economic upsets, we expect 2012 to bring a better hiring picture than 2011, especially in the second half of the year,” Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, said in a press release. “Many companies have been operating lean and have already pushed productivity limits. We’re likely to see gradual improvements in hiring across categories as companies respond to increased market demands.”

CareerBuilder says small businesses in particular will ramp up hiring, since a higher percentage of hiring managers from firms with 50 or fewer and 250 or fewer employees said they would add more staff in 2012 as compared with 2011.

The estimates are based on interviews with 3,023 hiring managers and human resources professionals nationwide conducted between Nov. 9 and Dec. 5.

Results indicate compensation will get more competitive among skilled workers, with 62% of employers planning to increase compensation for their existing employee base and 32% planning to offer higher starting salaries for new employees.

CareerBuilder predicts that other trends in the 2012 job market will include an increase in voluntary turnover, additional training provided by employers and increased recruitment of minorities on the part of companies that are hiring.

What else may be in store for the U.S. economy in the new year? Find out in MainStreet’s roundup of 2012 economic predictions from economists, psychics and an astrologer.

—Jeanine Skowronski is staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach her by email at Skowronski.jeanine@thestreet.com, or follow her on Twitter at @JeanineSko.

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