Skip to main content

Press Releases

New Release Paragraph

Read about our latest research, including results from our ongoing surveys of senior managers and workers, and company announcements.

Robert Half Professional Employment Report: Professional-Level Hiring to Remain Steady; Executives Confident in Growth Prospects

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A net 5 percent of executives interviewed for The Robert Half Professional Employment Report ( said they expect to add full-time, professional-level employees in the second quarter of 2011. Nine percent plan to increase staff, while 4 percent anticipate declines. The net 5 percent projected increase is unchanged from the first-quarter survey, with most respondents, 86 percent, expecting to maintain current personnel levels.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:

(Photo: )

While staffing levels are expected to remain consistent among most organizations, two fields saw quarter-over-quarter gains: marketing and sales/business development. The net hiring projection for each area increased by five points from the first-quarter outlook.

Across all fields, most executives remain optimistic about the future of their companies. Nearly all respondents (86 percent) said they were confident in their firms' growth prospects; four in 10 (40 percent) are very confident.

The Robert Half Professional Employment Report is the first quarterly executive survey of its size and scope to focus exclusively on professional-level hiring. The survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 4,000 executives from a variety of fields(1) throughout the United States about their hiring plans and general level of optimism regarding the upcoming quarter.

Key Findings

  • A net 5 percent of executives plan to add professional-level staff in the second quarter of 2011.
  • Eighty-six percent of executives are at least somewhat confident in their organizations' ability to grow in the second quarter; 40 percent are very confident.
  • Thirty-seven percent of respondents(2) said it is challenging to find skilled professionals today.
  • Businesses in the Mountain(3) states project the most hiring activity, with a net 11 percent of executives from this region planning to add professional-level staff in the second quarter.
  • Companies in the wholesale sector expect the most active hiring in the second quarter. A net 15 percent of executives anticipate staff additions.
  • The legal field is expected to see the strongest hiring, with a net 29 percent of lawyers planning to increase staff levels.


"While some firms remain conservative in their hiring outlook, others are finding they need to add staff to maintain adequate service levels," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "The need for marketing and business-development professionals could be an indication companies are anticipating business improvement and renewed demand for their products and services."


Professional-Level Hiring -- By Region

Survey respondents in the Mountain states predict the strongest hiring activity, with a net 11 percent of executives interviewed planning to add staff. "Improving business and consumer confidence in many areas of the Mountain region is stimulating the hiring of professional-level employees, particularly in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors," Messmer noted. "Companies in these states are increasing their use of temporary-to-full-time arrangements as a way to evaluate prospective new hires."

Professional-Level Hiring -- By Industry

Wholesale companies expect the most active hiring of any industry in the second quarter, with a net 15 percent of executives expecting to make staff additions. "As consumer demand steadily builds, wholesale firms need staff who can help manage the increased business volume," said Brett Good, a Robert Half International district president. "In particular, companies are hiring employees to assist with financial transactions, such as accounts payable and receivable specialists and billing professionals."

Executives in the retail sector also anticipate above-average hiring activity. A net 9 percent of retail executives said they plan to add staff.

Professional-Level Hiring -- By Field

As they have for the past five quarters, respondents in the legal profession forecast the strongest hiring activity of all fields. Twenty-nine percent of lawyers interviewed for the report projected staff increases and none anticipated declines.

About Robert Half International

Founded in 1948, Robert Half International, the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm, is a recognized leader in professional staffing services. The company's specialized staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively, in the fields of accounting and finance; OfficeTeam, for highly skilled temporary administrative support personnel; Robert Half Technology, for information technology professionals; Robert Half Legal, for legal personnel; and The Creative Group, for interactive, design and marketing professionals. Robert Half International has staffing and consulting operations in more than 400 locations worldwide. Find more information at, and follow us on Twitter at

(1)   Survey respondents included more than 1,400 chief financial officers (CFOs); 1,400 chief information officers (CIOs); 500 senior human resources managers; 100 lawyers at law firms and 100 corporate lawyers; and 125 advertising executives and 375 marketing executives within the United States, all of whom have hiring authority.


(2)   Respondents to this question included a total of more than 3,500 CFOs, CIOs, attorneys, and advertising and marketing executives.


(3)   AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY



SOURCE Robert Half International