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France – Hiring expectations down, APEC says

25 April 2012

Hiring expectations for professionals, managers and executives are deteriorating for the second quarter in France, according to a survey conducted by the APEC, the Association for the employment of professionals, managers and executives (Association Pour l’Emploi des Cadres). The association conducts a quarterly hiring expectation survey with a panel of hiring managers from 750 firms operating in France.

Hiring expectations for the second quarter of 2012 are the lowest reported by the APEC since Q4-2010: only 50% of respondents are expecting to hire in Q2-2012, a 3 percentage point setback compared with Q2-2011. Furthermore, only 65% of those expecting to hire are sure they will proceed while the remaining qualify the hiring as likely; compared with 75% and 25%, respectively, for Q2-2011.

During the first quarter of 2012, 54% of the firms responding to the survey have hired at least one professional; that is 2 percentage points less than in the first quarter of 2011. Furthermore, only 29% of respondents have hired more in Q1-2012 than Q1-2011, a significant drop from 41% for the Q1-2011 compared with Q1-2010.

The IT sector was still the biggest hirer in Q1-2012, with 91% of respondents reporting at least one hire in Q1-2012; a 1 percentage point increase compared with Q1-2011. The sector is poised to hire to the same extend in the coming quarter (91% of respondents). The Engineering and Research & development sector is also showing some healthy prospects: 82% of respondents have hired in Q1-2012 (down from 86% in Q1-2011), and 87% are expecting to hire. The least healthy sector is certainly Retail-Transport: only 35% report hires in Q1-2012 (down from 45% in Q1-2011) and 35% are expecting to hire (down from 39% in Q2-2011).

Looking at the survey results in terms of job roles, 46% of respondents are expecting to hire sales professionals, followed by research & development professional (36%) and finance & accounting (26%). The following categories ranked the lowest: executive (12%), health, social care and culture (11%), and finally communication & creative professionals (6%).

Although respondents are increasingly cautious when it comes to hiring, as many as 24% of respondents believe their firm will grow in the next quarter, compared with 11% who believe it will decline. Another sign of confidence in the overall business outlook, the survey results also highlighted that recruiters are willing to hire young graduates, despite a marked preference for young professionals few years of experience.

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