So who’s hiring more workers than they did a year ago? Let’s take a look.
Dropping lines of business, restructuring debt, outright liquidation they all sound like bad news, unless you happen to be in the business of helping companies survive by making tough decisions and mapping new routes to profitability.
“Businesses are going through a lot of change, and they often need advisory services, assurance on financial deals, tax advice and so on,” says Holly Paul, national recruiting leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers. “We’re hiring across all groups [for experienced accountants and financial consultants], and our campus recruiting goals have increased 17 percent.”
Bread-and-butter jobs in accounting and finance are also recovering in the wake of the shocks of 2008 and 2009. Business systems analysts, financial analysts, as well as senior and staff accountants are in demand, according to the fourth-quarter Robert Half Professional Employment Report.
Even foreclosures create jobs. “Property management and property reclamation are countercyclically strong,” says Brett Good, a senior district president at Robert Half.
Information technology is resurgent because judiciously chosen, carefully planned and successfully executed IT projects boost efficiency and, increasingly, open new markets. And more tech talent is available now than it has been for a long time.
Technology executives “are seeking skilled professionals to help them reinitiate systems implementation projects put on hold during the recession,” says the Robert Half report. Network administrators, application developers, Web developers and tech-support professionals are particularly in demand.
After major layoffs in 2008 and 2009, many law firms are increasing head count. Some 29 percent of law firms and in-house departments plan to hire in the last quarter of 2010 versus only 6 percent that plan to reduce their size, according to the Robert Half report.
Countercyclical legal niches like bankruptcy and foreclosure as well as labor-intensive specialties like litigation are particularly strong this year. Lawyers, paralegals and legal-support staff in these areas are in demand. “Bankruptcy, litigation and corporate defense are strong now,” Good says. “In a robust economy, the emphasis will shift to areas like intellectual property.”
After suffering from plummeting discretionary spending through the recession, the travel and hospitality industries are on the upswing. As airline passenger volume rises, airlines are able to raise fares, allowing some discount carriers to start hiring again.
Overall, job openings in leisure and hospitality reached 352,000 in July 2010, up from 262,000 a year earlier, according to preliminary data in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).
The mother of all incredible shrinking industries — manufacturing — has begun to expand again, albeit slowly. In August 2010, the manufacturing sector reported growth for the 13th consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Employment openings in manufacturing more than doubled to 228,000 in July 2010 from just 109,000 a year earlier; hires rose to 294,000 from 263,000 over the same period, according to the preliminary JOLTS data.
Green energy is one niche in manufacturing where employment is beginning to accelerate. “New manufacturing jobs are in alternative energy, and they are quite real,” says Terry Connelly, dean of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.