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Among employers of professional workers, 16 percent plan to hire professional-level staff in the first quarter of 2012, while 78 percent anticipate no change and 6 percent plan to cut staff, according to the Robert Half professional report that was released today. The net 10 percent planning to add staff is up three points from the fourth-quarter 2011 forecast.
However, 67 percent of executives said it is at least somewhat challenging to find skilled employees today, up from 59 percent last quarter and 42 percent in the third quarter.
The legal field is expected to see the strongest hiring activity, with a net 27 percent of lawyers planning to increase staff levels. Advertising and marketing was next, with a net 14 percent planning to add staff.
Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they are at least somewhat confident in their organizations' ability to grow in the first quarter.
The Robert Half Professional Employment Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 4,000 C-level executives and other leaders from a variety of fields throughout the United States.