Overall, employers expect to maintain a cautious yet positive hiring pace through the first three months of 2014. Payrolls are expected to increase by varying degrees in the majority of countries and territories included in the quarterly research, with employers in 34 of 42 countries and territories intending to add to their workforces in the January-March time frame, compared with 29 in Q4 2013. Hiring plans strengthen in exactly half of the countries and territories in a quarter-over-quarter comparison and weaken in 15. Outlooks are stronger in 21 countries and territories compared with one year ago at this time, and decline in 17. When compared quarter-over-quarter, employer hiring intentions in the G7 countries improve or remain relatively stable and many employers report that they intend to add to their payrolls, but at far more modest rates than in the pre-recession years.
Other findings in the first-quarter research include:
• Where First Quarter Hiring Plans are Strongest: Employers in Taiwan, India, New Zealand, Colombia and Singapore report the most optimistic first-quarter forecasts, while the weakest — and only negative — Net Employment Outlooks are reported in Italy, Ireland, Finland, Spain, Slovakia and Belgium.
• Japan Outlook Strongest in Nearly Six Years: Japanese employers report the most optimistic hiring intentions since Q2 2008, with those in Tokyo reporting the strongest forecast since Q3 2008. Meanwhile, their Chinese counterparts anticipate little change in hiring plans, reporting a steady Net Employment Outlook of +13% for the coming quarter.
• Brazil Slows Back to the Pack: Brazilian employers forecast their weakest hiring climate since the survey began in Q4 2009, but still expect favorable hiring. Elsewhere in the Americas, U.S. employers report steady hiring activity, while the region’s least optimistic hiring plans are reported in Argentina.
• Europe Fragile but Greece Makes Strides: As in the previous quarter, Europe’s strongest hiring plans are reported in Turkey. Greek employers forecast the strongest hiring pace since Q4 2008, improving by six and 17 percentage points from Q4 2013 and Q1 2013, respectively. Hungarian employers report their most optimistic hiring plans since the survey began there in Q3 2009. Modest payroll gains are anticipated in France. Hiring prospects remain relatively stable quarter-over-quarter in Germany, but are three percentage points weaker year-over-year. Irish, Italian and Spanish employers continue to predict weak labor markets.
For additional analysis, visit the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Explorer tool, an interactive way to examine and compare data from the countries and territories surveyed.