To varying degrees, employers in nearly every region of the global economy expect to see an increase in hiring through the end of 2011 and into the first quarter of 2012. However, these growth estimates are somewhat volatile, with the potential to be affected by the political and financial strife in the European Union. An economic crisis originating in the EU will likely have worldwide consequences, encouraging firms to adopt more conservative hiring strategies.
Overall, employers in Brazil, Taiwan, India and Singapore are likely to see the largest increases in hiring. Employers in Greece, Spain, Italy and Slovenia are likely to report the weakest hiring for the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. Modest increases are expected for the rest of the globe. Some experts are suggesting an increase in just-in-time hiring, which provides greater flexibility in managing a workforce in volatile economic times. This move to a more sophisticated hiring strategy can certainly be considered an opportunity for staffing and recruiting firms, who already have the infrastructure in place to provide those services.
The most positive employment prospects are likely to be seen in Taiwan where, excluding seasonal variations, the unemployment rate remains low at 5%. Aside from Singapore, which is also likely to see substantial employment growth, the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, specifically Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand are expected to experience small employment gains. India, however, is likely to demonstrate the weakest employment prospects, due to less demand for products and outsourced services to the U.S. market.
Employers in Brazil are reporting the most optimistic hiring intentions of all markets in the Americas, thanks to increasingly favorable currency and trading rates. Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Peru are expected to remain relatively stable, or report very modest increases over the past quarter. Hiring for all, however, will still be an improvement on a year-to-year basis, priming the pump for long-term increases. In the United States, employers are expected to continue to be cautious about full-time hiring, with additional emphasis placed on part-time, contract and other flexible strategies.
Europe, Middle East and Africa
Mixed is the only accurate way to describe hiring projections for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. With economic uncertainty on the rise, employers are increasingly taking a wait-and-see attitude, or utilizing more flexible hiring strategies and staffing solutions that don’t “lock-in” employees for the long-term. Political uncertainty in the Middle East will also continue to depress employment. Germany, Norway, Romania and Sweden markets are best positioned for an increase in employment. Austria, France, Poland, South Africa and the UK round out the regions where a low to moderate employment increase is expected.
For those firms that have successfully weathered the last recession, the prospect of another recession is providing reason enough to be cautious about hiring. Yet those same firms are likely to be among the first to recognize and take advantage of any opportunities brought about by overly cautious moves by their competitors. By staying actively connected to customers, staffing firms can help businesses move quickly in this risky and volatile global marketplace.