Emerging Markets Continue to Lead Global Labor Market Recovery

Sept. 7, 2010
Strongest hiring plans forecast by employers in China, Taiwan, India and Brazil; U.S. employers report cautiously optimistic job prospects

According to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey results released on Sept. 7 by Manpower Inc., hiring expectations in emerging markets -- China, Taiwan, India and Brazil -- continue to outpace the rest of the world. Meanwhile, employer hiring confidence in European countries is mixed with positive job prospects reported in Germany for the quarter ahead.

And although hiring plans in the U.S. are stronger compared to one year ago, the cautiously optimistic hiring pace reported for the next three months indicates economic concerns continue to weigh on the minds of American employers.

"We're seeing a multi-speed recovery in the global labor market with talent demand in high gear in many of the emerging markets we survey. Other markets, such as the U.S. and Japan, are still moving forward but can't seem to get out of first gear," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, CEO of Manpower Inc. "Employers in many markets continue to struggle with inconsistent demand for their products and services making it difficult to anticipate staff needs. As a result, a flexible workforce strategy will be critical during this point of the recovery cycle."

Globally, employers in 32 countries and territories are reporting stronger year-over-year outlooks, with those in China, Taiwan, India and Brazil indicating the strongest fourth-quarter job prospects. Notably, forecasts from Chinese, Swiss and Taiwanese employers are the most optimistic since Manpower began polling there. The weakest hiring plans for the upcoming quarter are reported in Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain and Ireland.

Across the Asia Pacific region, year-over-year forecasts improve in each of the eight countries and territories surveyed, with forecasts improving from the third quarter in three. Hiring plans in the region are strongest in China, Taiwan and India. Meanwhile, employer hiring plans in Japan are the most conservative in the region, but they are considerably stronger compared to one year ago.

"Continued strong domestic growth is fueling stronger job prospects in all industry sectors in China and Taiwan from three months ago. As a result, the talent wars are waging again as companies struggle to retain the talent they need," said Joerres. "In contrast, Indian employers expect to ease the pace of hiring slightly. Interestingly, our data reveals a bright spot in the Japanese Manufacturing sector, where hiring expectations have improved for six consecutive quarters and are the strongest in two years."

Similar to the third quarter, fourth-quarter hiring expectations remain mixed in the 18 countries surveyed in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Hiring activity in the region is expected to be strongest in Switzerland, Norway and Poland and weakest in Greece and Italy.

"European labor markets have yet to gain real traction due in part to the uncertainty in Greece and Italy. But we are seeing notable improvements across the region in the Finance and Business Services sector, where year-over-year forecasts improve in 15 countries, most notably in Switzerland, Germany and Norway," said Joerres. "The German labor market continues to be resilient; however lack of talent, especially engineers, healthcare professionals and sales staff, is becoming a real issue for employers in many sectors."

Across the 10 countries surveyed in the Americas region, employers anticipate varying degrees of positive hiring activity. Regional hiring plans are again strongest in Brazil, Peru and Costa Rica and weakest in the U.S., where hiring plans are relatively stable from three months ago but are notably stronger than those reported one year ago.

"Hiring confidence has returned to the majority of the region with employers in Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Panama and Colombia reporting their most optimistic plans of the year," said Joerres. "Brazilian employers in the Services sector continue to create jobs at a rapid pace and in many industry sectors wage arbitrage is becoming an issue for both professional and skilled trades roles. Meanwhile, in the U.S. most of the hiring that was done in the third quarter will be absorbed, yet negative outlooks are reported for just two sectors -- Construction and Government. U.S. job seekers can expect to find the most opportunities in the Wholesale & Retail Trade and Mining sectors in the quarter ahead."

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