On the heels of highly optimistic hiring plans expressed in our inaugural survey one year ago, employers remain bullish in their intentions to bring on new full-time employees, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree. As the job market continues to recover and unemployment rates start to decline across the country, employers echo their expectations from a year ago that the Obama administration will continue to assign a high priority to job creation.
An eagerness for expanding their workforce does not come without recognition of the challenges posed by the current job market. While respondents feel key barriers facing workers in today’s job market have started to decline, the majority still report that current economic conditions are affecting their workforce. In addition, while nearly half of respondents have not experienced difficulty filling open positions, some respondents reported difficulties such as the inability to provide the compensation requested by job applicants and a lack of U.S. citizens with highly specialized skills.
- The majority of respondents (60 percent) plan to hire more workers, either cautiously or aggressively, in the next 12 months.
- A slight rise in the number of respondents whose companies were not planning any change to their current workforce (from 13 percent in 2012 to 22 percent in 2013) suggests that the job market is starting to move in the direction of employers filling their hiring needs and becoming content with their current workforce.
- Similar to the 2012 survey results, 70 percent of respondents expected the Obama administration to assign a high priority to job creation.
- Respondents indicated that the degree to which the workforce is being impacted by current economic conditions is starting to decline in key areas, including underemployment (from
- 67 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2013), remaining in a job due to an inability to find employment elsewhere (from 85 percent in 2012 to 79 percent in 2013) and demands for employees to do more with less (from 91 percent to 85 percent).
Employers continue to feel the impact of various government regulations on the workplace. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) top of mind for employers and many experts predicting that 2013 could be the year for immigration reform, healthcare and immigration are anticipated to be the top areas of focus for the president.
- The vast majority of respondents cited President Obama’s highest priorities as healthcare reform (86 percent) and immigration reform (82 percent), while still prioritizing other key regulatory issues impacting the workplace. The majority of respondents indicated National
- Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and union organizing matters, workplace discrimination matters and whistleblowing and retaliation claims as having some level of priority in the Obama administration, with very few indicating these matters as “not a priority.”
- Improving employment verification systems and increasing visas allotted to highly skilled foreign workers were the immigration reform measures expected to have the most potential to positively impact employers. Respondents also noted a range of potential actions in response to ACA, including implementing wellness programs (54 percent), offering healthcare benefits through private exchanges (31 percent), and limiting employee hours to less than 30 hours per week (27 percent).
Survey questions and resulting findings do not represent any specific political affiliation or preferences of Littler Mendelson, nor do they constitute any legal, economic or political advice.