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Poll Shows Strong Job Market In 2007

Workers should cheer companies' intentions to boost both hiring and salaries in the new year.

A survey of U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals finds 40% expecting to add full-time, permanent employees next year, and more than twice as many expecting to increase salaries.

The Harris Interactive poll conducted for online job site CareerBuilder.com also finds 40% of respondents unable to find qualified candidates, which means companies would boost pay and incentives next year to keep workers on the job.

Among managers and HR pros expecting to add workers, 36% say they would do so in the first three months of next year. Only 8% of respondents say they expected a drop in employees, while 40% expect no change. The remainder are unsure.

The 2007 Job Forecast also finds that 81% of employers plan to increase salaries for existing workers, with 65% expecting a rise of 3% or more. Nearly one in five expect to boost salaries by 5% or more.

Driving the salary increases, as well as other trends positive for workers, is the difficulty many companies are having finding qualified candidates for jobs, the report finds. Fully 40% of respondents say they couldn't find the right people for jobs.

Among those looking to hire workers next year, 36% expect to add 10 or fewer, 29% more than 50, 20% more than 100, and 10% more than 500. Most of the recruiting is expected to be in the areas of health care, administrative/clerical, sales, accounting/financial operations, customer service, information technology, management, and engineering.

Besides fatter paychecks, other trends uncovered in the survey include a commitment by some employers to hire more Hispanics, African Americans, and women. In addition, half of employers were at least "fairly willing" to provide more flexible work arrangements, such as job sharing and alternate schedules.

More than a third of employers plan to provide more promotions and career advancement opportunities to try to hold on to existing staff; and nearly eight in 10 say they're willing to provide training for new hires. Fully 13% of respondents say they would expand operations and hire workers in other countries next year, with an additional 9% considering it.

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey between Nov. 17 and Dec. 11 among 2,627 hiring managers and human resources professionals within the United States. CareerBuilder lists more than 1.5 million jobs and has more than 23 million unique visitors, according to the company.

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