Improving job market for professionals creates pressure points for companies

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2014 — Hiring managers anticipate adding more professionals at a record level in the first half of 2015, according to the semi-annual national survey from Dice Holdings, Inc., a leading provider of specialized websites for professional communities.

Sixty-percent of hiring managers expect an uptick in hiring in the year ahead, which is four points higher than the mid-year survey and five more than November 2013.

As more U.S. companies are revving up hiring plans due to the current economic environment, candidates are more often exercising bargaining options such as considering counteroffers from current employers or negotiating more money during the recruiting process to land the ideal job.

While hiring is expected to be on the upswing in the six months ahead, filling roles is a challenge for companies. Four in 10 (42%) hiring managers note the time to fill open positions has lengthened compared to last year, citing the inability to find qualified professionals as the main culprit. That compares to 39 percent who said this in June 2014.

The survey echoes findings from Dice Holdings’ monthly Dice Hiring Indicators report, in which the Dice-DFH Vacancy Duration Measure, an index quantifying the average number of working days taken to fill vacant job positions, shows the mean U.S. job vacancy duration continually hits record highs.

“The data from our Dice Hiring Indicators report shows average job vacancy durations in the U.S. continue to climb to new peaks, and it’s clear America’s companies are feeling the pressure, with a record number of hiring managers observing positions take longer to fill,” said Michael Durney, President and CEO of Dice Holdings, Inc. “Competition for talent is heating up, and as highly skilled professionals become more coveted, companies will need to create an action plan for when the perfect candidate chooses another job or ups the stakes and requests a higher salary before accepting the position.”

However once companies find the desired candidate, it’s not always a mutual attraction, further proof that today is a candidate’s market. More candidates than ever before are rejecting offers, with 29 percent of hiring managers seeing rebuffs, compared to 26 percent in June 2014 and November 2013.

Retention is an issue as more professionals are voluntarily quitting their positions with four in 10 (41%) companies seeing departures compared to just 34 percent who saw this trend at mid-year. When professionals do leave, 40 percent of hiring managers say the voluntary turnover they’ve experienced is undesirable.

Plus, competition for talent is leading to more companies holding tight to the professionals they have with a third of hiring managers seeing more counteroffers now than mid-year 2014.

For those positions which are difficult to fill, companies say they are broadening the search wider geographically beyond local talent to find candidates. However, 31 percent of hiring managers say if the right candidate can’t be found they do nothing in the interim; the position remains open until the perfect fit is identified.

“Attracting the best-fit candidate may mean companies are offering more money or unique benefits during the recruiting process, especially for positions such as software developers, nurses, accounting professionals or shift leads which our customers say are difficult-to-fill,” said Mr. Durney.

On average, candidates are asking for more money as compared to six months ago, according to 52 percent of hiring managers. Roughly half (49%) of recruiters anticipate higher salaries for new hires compared to last year. And, more than half of corporate hiring managers expect salaries for existing staff to be higher in the first half of 2015.

Professionals across all experience levels are in demand, with those with two to five years in the workforce most sought after, followed by those with six to 10 years’ experience. About a third of hiring managers envision hiring entry-level professionals or talent with more than 10 years of experience. Hiring managers anticipate hiring more full-time and contract professionals compared to six months ago, but see no change in recruiting for part-time, temp or temp-to-hire positions.

Companies are optimistic about job security, with only 11 percent of corporate hiring managers saying layoffs are likely in the first half of 2015.

About the survey

From November 10 to 14, 2014, Dice Holdings surveyed U.S. companies, government entities and recruiting firms from every region of the country who hire or recruit a variety of professionals. 707 hiring professionals responded to the email survey, with 65 percent identified as working for companies that recruit for their own needs in sectors such as healthcare, technology, manufacturing, defense, education and financial services.

About Dice Holdings, Inc.

Dice Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: DHX) is a leading provider of specialized websites for professional communities, including technology and engineering, financial services, energy, healthcare, hospitality and security clearance. Our mission is to help our customers source and hire the most qualified professionals in select and highly skilled occupations, and to help those professionals find the best job opportunities in their respective fields and further their careers. For more than 20 years, we have built our company by providing our customers with quick and easy access to high-quality, unique professional communities and offering those communities access to highly relevant career opportunities and information. Today, we serve multiple markets primarily in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.