Each quarter ManpowerGroup conducts research to measure employment trends* in 41 of the world’s largest labor markets. Nearly 65,000 employers have been interviewed across 41 countries and territories to measure employer hiring expectations between January and March 2012. Despite continuing economic challenges and widespread uncertainty in the global labor market, employers in 31 of the 41 countries and territories ManpowerGroup surveys expect to add to their workforces in varying degrees during the first three months of the year.
Employers in India, Brazil, Taiwan and Panama report the strongest first-quarter hiring plans globally. Meanwhile, those in Greece, Hungary and Italy report the weakest Net Employment Outlooks. Hiring optimism weakens from three months ago in 30 countries and territories and softens in 23 countries and territories compared to this time last year. Debt issues in Europe continue to impact employer hiring plans around the globe, including those in China—where Europe represents their largest export market. China’s considerable year-over-year decline in employer confidence is also attributable to deliberate efforts by the Chinese government to cool down the economy. Meanwhile, in the U.S., forecasts improve or remain stable in nine of 13 sectors from both three months ago and last year. And in Japan, employers report the country’s strongest hiring plans since the third quarter of 2008.
Regionally, employers throughout Asia Pacific continue to report positive Net Employment Outlooks. Job seekers in India are likely to benefit from the most vigorous hiring pace reported among the eight countries and territories in the region, with aggressive recruitment of IT talent expected to heat up competition for talent in an already booming labor market. However, compared to last year at this time, hiring plans soften in six countries and territories, including China’s notable drop in employer confidence. Hiring intentions among Japanese employers are the least robust in the region, despite slight improvements in the Net Employment Outlook from the previous quarter and 12 months ago.
Hiring plans remain positive in all 10 countries ManpowerGroup surveys in the Americas. Labor markets are expected to improve or remain relatively stable in six of 10 countries in a quarter-over-quarter comparison. The year-over-year comparison is split, with Net Employment Outlooks strengthening in five countries and weakening in five. Regional hiring expectations are strongest in Brazil and weakest in the U.S. where employers, nonetheless, expect hiring activity to slightly improve in the next three months.
In the EMEA region, hiring trends remain mixed with employers reporting positive hiring intentions in 13 of the 23 countries surveyed. Individual Outlooks decline in 18 of 23 countries from three months ago and weaken in 12 where year-over-year comparisons are possible. Regional hiring plans are strongest in Turkey, Israel, Germany, Norway and Sweden, and weakest in Greece as well as Hungary, where employers expect to put the brakes on hiring in the next three months.