Accordingly, 63 percent of the participating companies, whose annual revenue averaged $368m, anticipated growing their head count. That was 11 percentage points higher than a year ago and the highest percentage reported in PwC’s quarterly Trendsetter Barometer in years. Likewise, only 2 percent of the companies were looking at reducing their work forces over the next 12 months, tied with the second quarter of 2010 for the lowest figure since 2008. In the fourth quarter of that year, 17 percent of surveyed companies were eyeing staff reductions.
Still, in another sense hiring plans are somewhat measured, with staffing increases expected to average just 2 percent. Companies reporting plans to bolster head count had forecast greater 12-month-out increases than that in five of the previous seven quarters, topping out at 3.4 percent in the first quarter of 2013.
Most hires will be in three areas: sales, technology and “blue-collar” workers. “Hiring is very targeted,” says Ken Esch, a partner in PwC’s private company services practice, noting that while those three buckets are quite disparate, they have a common thread. “Hiring companies are expecting a quick turnaround on their investment. They’re looking for sales professionals who can access new customers quickly, people who can help them get better information out of the data they already have, and people who can jump into the manufacturing or production end and contribute within days rather than months.”
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