Gradually, reluctantly, employers are prying open their walletsto secure talent both internallyand externally.

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One theme running through the current recovery has been theunwillingness for employers to believe the recovery is real and toshell out more money for retention and recruiting, despite theirunderstanding that a major war for talent has been underway forthree years.

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Now, a CareerBuilder survey of more than 5,000 members of theU.S. workforce, including hiring personnel and job seekers, tellsus that management is ready to throw money at the situation.

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CareerBuilder’s survey sought to find out, among other things,whether employers were changing up their talent pursuit strategiesfor the second half of 2016. The answer that came back: More thanhalf of employers will raise wages for currentemployees, and 40 percent say they will offer higherstarting salaries to job candidates.

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The hiring pace won’t change much. With some industryexceptions, most employers are picking up or slowing down theirhiring rates. But managers say they still can’t fill the positionsposted, particularly ones for highly skilled or experiencedpersonnel. It’s in those cases that higher offers will be deployedto fill key staffing gaps.

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“The U.S. job market is not likely to experience any major dipsor spikes in hiring over the next six months compared to lastyear,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “While certainindustries or locations may produce more job growth, hiring overallwill hold steady throughout the election season and through the endof the year. Where we'll likely see a more noteworthy change is inthe area of wages.”

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No one is planning to hand over the combination to the companysafe, however. The survey found that about 40 percent of hiringmanagers are considering increases, but only 20 percent areforecasting bumps of 5 percent or more. Slightly more than half ofemployers said they’ve decided to give current employees raises in the nextsix months but again, only about 20 percent said such increaseswould equal or exceed 5 percent.

What employers are looking for

When asked whether they would be hiring full-time, part-time orcontract workers, CareerBuilder said the breakdown was essentiallythe same as a year ago: About half will hire full-time workers,about 30 percent part-time, and about a third were looking atadding contract workers.

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Industries that reported higher levels of hiring activity thistime around included information technology (68 percent), healthcare (65 percent), financial services (56 percent), andmanufacturing (51 percent).

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The most in-demand expertise employers are chasing centeron candidates involved in:

  • Cloud technology 12 percent.

  • Mobile technology 11 percent.

  • Social marketing 11 percent.

  • Providing a good user experience 11 percent

  • Developing apps 9 percent.

  • Wellness 9 percent.

  • E-commerce 9 percent.

  • Financial regulation 9 percent.

  • Creating a digital strategy 9 percent.

  • Managing and interpreting Big Data 8 percent.

  • Cyber security 8 percent.

Among broader functional areas, employers will be hiringfor:

  • Customer service 29 percent.

  • Sales 27 percent.

  • Information technology 25 percent.

  • Production 20 percent.

  • Accounting/finance 13 percent.

  • Human resources 13 percent.

  • Clinical 12 percent.

  • Business development 11 percent.

  • Marketing 11 percent.

  • Research and Development 11 percent

While many trends examined were found to be highly similar tolast year’s results, one distinction did pop up when results werebroken down by region. Reported hiring activity rose from 46percent of respondents in the West to 53 percent this year, thelargest regional increase by far.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.