Spending on talent acquisition grew 6 percent to roughly $124 million in 2011, with a greater portion of those funds being used on professional networks, social media and customer relationship management technology, rather than job boards and recruiting agencies, according to a study by Bersin & Associates, a human resources research and consulting firm.

The study also finds that although the number of job applicants is high, companies continue to face difficulty in finding qualified candidates, which is leading companies to encourage internal mobility programs to fill open positions.

"We estimate that U.S. companies are spending an average of $3,500 for every new hire brought into the organization – about three times the amount spent on training per employee," says Josh Bersin, CEO and president of Bersin & Associates. "This large expense is primarily going to agencies and job boards today, but companies increasingly are turning to professional and social networks for their recruiting needs. Our research shows that talent markets are out of balance: Even with the high unemployment rates in the U.S., companies must invest heavily in recruiting to find the 'right candidate,' leading to a greater-than-ever focus on social networks as a major new tool."

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