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A grocery store worker recycles boxes in Brooklyn, N.Y., on March 28, 2020. © Spencer Platt

Employers in Many Markets Report Continued Improvements in Hiring Outlooks for Q2


Employers are more optimistic than last quarter about time to labor market recovery; 77% expect pre-pandemic hiring levels to return by end of year

Published on March 09, 2021

Hiring outlooks for the second quarter improve in 24 of 43 markets according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (NYSE-MAN) of over 42,000 employers. Employers report more positive employment outlooks than last quarter in 24 countries, weaker in 16 and unchanged in 3. Employers in India, Hong Kong, and the U.S. are most optimistic about returning to pre-pandemic hiring by end of 2021, while employers in Germany, France, Netherlands, and Poland are least optimistic.

Key findings:

  • Return to pre-pandemic hiring – as vaccine rollouts progress, 77% expect to return to pre-pandemic hiring levels by end of 2021.
  • Strongest hiring outlooks reported in Taiwan, U.S., Australia, and Singapore; weakest in Panama, UK, and South Africa.
  • Vaccination policy – As more vaccines are approved and rolled out, 43% of employers have no plans to mandate vaccination, 23% will encourage by promoting the benefits, 16% plan to require employees to be vaccinated, 14% are undecided and 4% will require vaccination for workers in specific roles.
  • New ways of working – in next 6-12 months, organizations expect 51% of employees to be back in the workplace most of the time, 36% will offer a hybrid work with more remote work, 5% will offer flexible shift patterns 4% will shift to full remote work, 4% are undecided.

“We continue to see evidence of a two-speed recovery, where people with in-demand skills and those organizations that are digitizing most are thriving, while others are at risk of falling behind,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO. “As more vaccines are approved and employers have implemented strong safety protocols to avoid full shutdowns in workplaces where people must be on site, we are seeing the beginning of more hiring optimism for the months ahead. We still have a long way to go in this recovery, yet these results point to positive trends in many industries. Now is the time to equip people with the digital and soft skills employers need as demand is likely to rise as organizations continue to accelerate their digitization plans.”

Global Hiring Plans by Region

Americas: Hiring intentions strengthen in four countries (U.S., Costa Rica, Canada, and Colombia) and weaken in six (Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Peru) since the previous quarter.

  • U.S. employers report the strongest hiring intentions in the region for the 14th consecutive quarter (+18%), followed by Brazil (+9%) and Canada (+8%). The weakest and only negative intentions in the region are in Panama (-8%), the weakest globally, and Peru (-2%).
  • Employers in all U.S. sectors are anticipating positive outlooks for the next three months, the strongest hiring activity is forecast for the Leisure & Hospitality (+27%), Transportation & Utilities (+23%), and Wholesale & Retail Trade (+22%).
  • In Brazil, the Manufacturing sector Outlook of +11% is stronger than the national outlook of (+8%), remaining, both relatively stable when compared with the previous quarter, but decreasing by 2 percentage points year-over-year.

EMEA: Outlooks improve or remain the same in seventeen countries and decline in seven quarter-over-quarter (Bulgaria, Finland, Germany Greece, Italy, Ireland, and the Netherlands)

  • Croatia (12%), Romania (12%), and Turkey (10%) have the strongest regional hiring plans, while the weakest are expected in the UK (-5%) and South Africa (-5%).
  • In France hiring intentions rise by 6 percentage points quarter-over-quarter, with employers in Construction and Manufacturing reporting the most optimistic hiring plans.
  • In Germany, the strongest hiring plans are reported in the Finance & Business Services sector (+15%), while the Restaurants & Hotels sector (-16%) reports its weakest outlook since 2003.
  • UK employers report the weakest outlooks in Europe, driven by declines in hospitality and retail, and business services.

APAC: Outlooks improve in four APAC countries and territories since the last quarter (Australia, India, Singapore, Taiwan), remain the same in China and Hong Kong, and weaken in Japan.

  • The strongest hiring prospects are reported in Taiwan (+24%) Australia (+17%) and Singapore (+17%) for the second consecutive quarter while the weakest and only negative hiring intentions are expected in Hong Kong (-2%) and Japan (-1%).
  • Hong Kong (-4%) and Japan (-4%) report their weakest outlooks in Retail and Trade since the studies began.
  • Employers in Australia report the strongest hiring pace in more than nine years, with positive outlooks reported in all seven industry sectors, particularly optimistic in the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate, and Manufacturing.
Associate Writer