Fewer Vacancies at Large Companies

Thirty-two percent of companies with more than 10,000 employees expect to hire fewer workers during the next 12 months, according to a new survey of 180 senior executives and managers worldwide.

The survey, conducted by NFI Research, a Madbury, N.H., firm that analyzes business, organizational and IT trends, found that respondents attributed the decline to downsizing, dampened economic conditions and business efficiency.

The same portion of large companies—nearly one-third—said they expect employment to increase somewhat or significantly in the same time period; a little more than one-third expect hiring patterns to remain unchanged. In contrast, 60 percent of senior executives and managers at businesses with fewer than 500 employees said they expect to increase their overall number of employees in the next year.

The variance can be explained by the differing challenges that small and large companies face, says NFI chief executive Chuck Martin.

“Large companies are more affected than small ones by external pressures, such as the falling dollar, the price of oil and stockholder demands,” he says.

Large companies generally have to meet quarterly financial goals and may be inclined to lay off employees to meet Wall Street and stakeholder expectations, Martin says. On the other hand, small companies tend to be locally operated and are less driven by outside influences.

The trend among large companies to merge with or acquire one another may also contribute to the predicted hiring lag. For example, two companies that merge are more likely to eliminate jobs due to redundancies in infrastructure and skill sets.

“Where each company once had its own marketing department, the combined companies would likely share a single marketing department with fewer employees than the two put together,” Martin says.

Survey respondents included executives and managers in 47 countries. A comparable NFI survey done one year ago found that 44 percent of executives at large companies expected to increase staff size.

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