Small businesses are projected to grow their staffs next year through new hires and increased employee retention, new research shows.
According to CareerBuilder's annual job forecast, 16 percent of businesses with fewer than 50 employees plan to add full-time, permanent staff in 2012, up from 14 percent in 2011. The percentage planning to reduce their headcount is projected to fall from 5 percent this year to 3 percent in 2012.
The hiring plans are even livelier for businesses with 250-to-500 employees, where at least 20 percent expect to add jobs and downsizing plans are projected to drop by 2 percent.
Overall, the report found nearly one in four of the hiring managers surveyed plan to hire full-time employees in 2012, relatively unchanged from 2011.
When broken down by region, the research shows a mixed bag, with businesses in the western United States projecting to both add the most employees and reduce their staffs the most in 2012.
Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, said their surveys have historically shown that employers are conservative in their predictions. Barring any major economic upsets, they expect 2012 to bring a better hiring picture than this year.
"Many companies have been operating lean and have already pushed productivity limits," Ferguson said. "We're likely to see gradual improvements in hiring across categories as companies respond to increased market demands."
The research found a number of employment trends to watch for in 2012, including an increase in compensation for both current staff and prospective employees as recruiting for skilled talent becomes more competitive. Sales, information technology, engineering and business development are the industries where employers are expected to increase salaries the most.
Other employment trends the study highlights are:
- An increase in voluntary turnover: More than 40 percent of the hiring managers surveyed said they are concerned top talent will jump ship in 2012.
- An increase in training: Thirty-eight percent of hiring managers plan to train people who don't have experience in their particular industry and hire them for positions within their organizations in 2012.
- An increase in minority hires: Nearly 30 percent of employers said they will focus on recruiting diverse workers to expand their employee demographics.
CareerBuilder's annual jobs forecast is based on surveys of more than 3,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals.