Most companies aren’t currently looking to hire new employees. Employers hope to maintain their existing staff members while trying to stay afloat during this difficult economy, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com and USA Today, which questioned 2,500 hiring managers/human resources professionals and more than 4,400 workers. The survey took place this year, from Feb. 20 through March 11.

Only 14 percent of managers plan to increase the amount of full-time workers, which has decreased from 29 percent during 2008’s second quarter. When it comes to reducing the employee count, 14 percent of employers expect a decline in staff, while 64 percent don’t anticipate any change. “We’ll be looking for the market to stabilize over the next three to six months, when you’ll hopefully see job losses below 100,000 and eventually closer to zero,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.com. “Employers want to hold on to their talent and are taking measures to contain costs and bring in new revenue streams, so they can maintain their staff levels.”
CareerBuilder.com provides employment trends for both employers and job seekers:

Reduce benefits and perks. Thirty-one percent of employers expect to trim benefit packages like 401(k) matching, health-care coverage and bonuses.

Search for top talent. Since hiring has decreased, more employers are making an effort to seek high performers for their staffs. Job candidates in sales, accounting, retail and customer service will most likely benefit the most.

Push back retirement. Sixty percent of workers over age 60 are postponing their retirement due to a loss in savings.

Use skills in other industries. Sixty-nine percent of managers would consider a candidate with transferable skills, even if he or she doesn’t have experience in the specific field.

Consider relocation. Thirty-nine percent of workers would think about moving to a new city or state for a job.

Return to school. In order to be more profitable to employers, 21 percent of workers plan to go back to the classroom for formal degrees, certificates and refresher classes.

Don’t be afraid to bring up the subject of salary during the interview process. Fifty-six percent of executives, according to a survey by Accountemps, a staffing service that questioned 150 executives, say they are OK with job seekers asking about salaries during the first or second interview. And 17 percent of managers think the phone interview is an appropriate time to discuss compensation. Only 10 percent of respondents say the candidate should wait until the third interview or afterward, while 12 percent think it is more acceptable once the job offer has been made.

“While employers and job applicants don’t have to agree on a final figure right away, general salary requirements should be discussed early in the hiring process to avoid surprises later on,” says Accountemps chairman Max Messmer. “When inquiring about salary for the first time, job seekers should be prepared to hear a broad range — employers want to get a sense of their qualifications and fit for the position before extending a formal offer.”

Accountemps offers tips to help job candidates discuss salaries during interviews:

Be prepared. Look up salary sources online or talk to professionals in the same industry.


• View the current job market.
Your experience and skills should also be taken into account when trying to create a reasonable compensation amount.

Maintain flexibility. You may have to be willing to compromise on certain areas.

Put it in writing. Make sure the employer creates a letter of agreement that discusses the details of the offer, such as job duties and payment.