Hiring remains far from robust, but recent signs of life suggest that employers are poised for a possible surge by year’s end. A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that both hiring activity and job openings have improved significantly in recent months. The latest statistics show that companies hired 4.5 million new workers in May, up from 3.96 million the same month a year ago. In addition to those hired, employers reported having another 3.2 million job openings at the end of the month, compared to less than 2.5 million openings at the end of May 2009. Separations – both voluntary and involuntary – remain at a level (4.1 million in May) that makes it difficult to create a dent in the number of unemployed, which stands at 14.6 million. However, as USA Today reported Wednesday, public companies are sitting on record levels of cash and appear ready to go on a hiring binge as soon as they see evidence that this recovery is sustainable. What are employers waiting for when it comes to hiring? Could hiring accelerate this year or is a 2011 increase more likely? Since many of the 3 million job openings are not officially advertised, how do job seekers uncover the hidden opportunities?
A new survey conducted by WorldatWork, Loyola University Chicago and the Hay Group suggests employees are becoming more interested in shaping their compensation packages to include work/life balance, especially in a time when employers are increasingly concerned with employee engagement. The survey found that 48 percent of employers surveyed agree that benefits and prerequisite programs have a high or very high impact on employee engagement, compared to 42 percent who believe raises have a high or very high impact and 41 percent who believe base salaries determine employee engagement. What kinds of perks will reengage employees? How can organizations strike a balance between their employees’ work and life? What other ways can companies foster and gauge their workers’ engagement?