The economy is improving, but don't expect major increases in hiring next year, according to the annual CareerBuilder hiring forecast.
Chief Executive Matt Ferguson told CNBC Wednesday the telephone survey of over 3,000 hiring managers found “we'll probably see a similar job creation number” to what's been seen over the the last six months.
Part of that is due to uncertainty from “the overhang of what happens in Europe,” said Ferguson. “We can see an improving labor market but there’s not going to be a radical move to the upside.”
According to the survey, 23 percent of employers plan to hire full-time workers in 2012, not much different from the 24 percent reported in 2011 but up from 20 percent in 2010.
Small businesses were found to be more confident in hiring and retaining employees next year, while fewer of them expect to downsize. In businesses with 50 or fewer employees 16 percent plan to add staff, from 14 percent last year. Businesses with up to 250 employees and those with up to 500 employees also expect to do slightly more hiring than in 2011.
“Small business saw improvement, but were still the most pessimistic about hiring,” Ferguson added. The industries where hiring is expected to increase are health care, technology, sales and business development.
One of the biggest problems across the spectrum of companies surveyed is where to find more skilled workers. Ferguson said one trend he found is more companies are bringing in unskilled workers and training them.
“That is helpful to move people from where they may be in their skill sets to where they need to be for the future labor market,” Ferguson said.
It also means higher pay to keep those skilled workers. The survey found 62 percent of companies plan to increase compensation for existing employees while 32 percent will offer higher starting salaries for new employees.
Those areas where pay hikes are expected are in sales, information technology, engineering and business development, said Ferguson.